★★★★★ | Heartbeats
If you have ever had an unrequited love, especially one in your (distant) youth then this wonderfully witty tongue-in-cheek movie from the remarkable multi-talented filmmaker Xavier Dolan will really appeal to you.
The story is of a love triangle. Twenty-year-old best friends Marie and Francis spot Nicolas, a stunning Adonis, at a dinner party, and they both fall for him big time. Nicolas adores attention so encourages them to the point where they destroy their close friendship and become bitter rivals to win his heart. Nicolas is very self-absorbed and affected and it is impossible to tell if his androgynous personification will eventually reveal whether he is gay or straight. The three of them have sleepovers in Francis’s bed but nothing at all happens, and then one day they ago away to the country for the weekend, and after this life, for them, all will never be the same.
As the story progresses Mr Dolan edits in some hilarious anecdotes in interview form from strangers whose love lives also fell part. The man definitely has a way with words.
There is something totally entrancing about this second feature from Canada’s wunderkind filmmaker and as much as one can pick holes with annoying (and almost clichéd) touches like some of the slow motion scenes, you really sense that this is no ordinary movie from any ordinary director. Mr Dolan’s first movie I Killed My Mother a totally stunning and hilarious semi-autobiographic piece won 3 Awards at the Cannes Film Festival (and another 23 other Awards around the World) in 2009 when he was a mere 19-years-old.
Sadly the US Distributor went into financial difficulties and the movie, trapped in legal no-mans-land, has never been seen beyond the Festival Circuit to date. Now at the ripe old age of 22, he has written, directed, starred, co-produced, edited, and designed the sets and the costumes for Heartbeats, which also picked up an Award at Cannes last year. He is an enormous precocious talent and I think this, his early work, shows that he is going to be one of THE most important filmmakers of the future.
You would be a fool to miss this one.