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After a 12-year absence, Louis (Gaspard Ulliel), a writer suffering from a fatal illness, returns to his family to inform them of his inevitable demise. As resentment soon rewrites the course of the afternoon, fits and feuds unfold, fuelled by loneliness and doubt, while all attempts at empathy are sabotaged by people’s incapacity to listen and love.
Derived from the play of the same name by Jean-Luc Lagarce, this vivid and confrontational drama muses on traditional notions of family and belonging. A star-filled cast capably conveys familial divisions, personal conflict and past grievances.
Canadian wunderkind director Xavier Dolan effectively uses tight camera angles and extreme close-ups, evoking a sense of constraint and claustrophobia by pulling the audience viscerally into Louis’ sensations of feeling smothered by his family.
This sensitive and thought-provoking piece leaves the viewer reconsidering the institution of family – is it always a source of joy, or can the most toxic people in our lives be our own flesh and blood?
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