Review: It’s Only the End of the World

The newest from Canadian sensation Xavier Dolan, It’s Only the End of the World features a star studded French cast that has Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, Nathalie Baye and Gaspard Ulliel in the lead role. When Louis (Ulliel) returns home after a 12 year absence to announce his terminal illness, he soon overstays his welcome when old wounds are opened with his estranged family.

Dolan, already a recipient of the Jury Prize for Mommy, shocked everyone at Cannes when he won the Grand Prix last year for his newest feature film. Quickly becoming one of the faces of Canadian cinema, Dolan’s past work has skyrocketed him to the top of many lists in regards to the future of the film industry. The mixed reviews out of Cannes cooled down the expectations for this film, hoping it’s just a one off for Dolan.

It’s Only the End of the World features top notch performances from Cassel, Seydoux and Baye while Ulliel’s subtlety makes you feel remorseful for his character sometimes. Marion Cotillard is one of the best actresses working in both the French and English film industry today, unfortunately she doesn’t get the opportunity to show off her talent in this limited role. This family drama is filled with tension and doubt while rarely being comprehensive. There isn’t much depth to the story which results in the film meandering, even at the runtime of 97 minutes. The film is a shout fest for the majority of the film which becomes tiresome quickly. Dolan incorporates his usual soundtrack and pop song samples which just adds to the volume of the movie. The majority of the shots are close-ups that are claustrophobic and exhausting. The film doesn’t end up achieving anything, neither the story nor the characters progress, with so little movement you would think Dolan and co were stuck in quicksand.

Dolan’s newest is a misfire that lacks any motivation and features a variety of characters that aren’t likeable. Set in real time, we aren’t ever introduced to the characters, instead Dolan feels the need to shove these characters and their loud yelling down our throat right from the get-go. The cast do the best with what they have to work with, sometimes resulting in awkward comedy that most likely wasn’t supposed to be comedic. A film that will leave you cold, It’s Only the End of the World is a lifeless melodrama that leaves a lot unsaid with little incentive about the finished project.

Rating: 5/10

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