It’s Only The End Of The World Blu-ray Review

It's Only The End Of The World

Thanks to the warmongering of those man-children in charge of America and North Korea, there’s probably never been a more apt time to watch Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only The End Of The World.

Louis is a prodigal son shaped writer of things, who left his family behind many years ago to follow his own destiny in the big city.

Twelve long years have passed since then, and Louis is now a successful playwright who gets to live out his own dreams on a daily basis.

But all is not as it seems for this prodigal son, and some bad news makes him realise that it’s time he reconnected with his own family.

So he makes the pilgrimage back home to visit his lightly dysfunctional mother and siblings for the first time since leaving.

And he’s about to discover how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same.

Adapted from Jean Luc-Lugarce’s play of the same name, It’s Only The End Of The World is a sharply written and tautly observed ode to the dysfunctional nature of family that most of us will all too readily identify with.

Or just me.

Though on the surface everyone seems happy enough with their lot in life, prick this superficial veneer just a little and new truths – as well as old resentments – come rushing out.

There’s the mother, who just wants everything to be nice and everyone to be nice to each other; the eldest son, who has had responsibility thrust upon him from a young age and feels weighed down by this.

And then there’s the baby of the family, having arrived quite a few years later than her brothers and feeling neglected at what she feels are parentals simply going through the motions of their child rearing duties.

But it’s the absence of a certain male presence that weighs heaviest of all in this picture, and the missing father figure has recast everyone else’s familial role in this skewed reality that they’ve reluctantly accepted.

Writing that down, it’s hard to recognise where the fictional reality of this film ends and my own past begins… the lines have become more blurred than a Robin Thicke song.

And that’s the minor key brilliance of It’s Only The End Of The World, as I could connect with almost every emotion and feeling Dolan has painted in his latest film.

The cast is a who’s who of French acting royalty, with Vincent Cassel, Lea Seydoux, Nathalie Baye and Gaspard Ulliel all excelling in their respective roles.

But it’s Marion Cotillard as the put upon wife of Cassel’s brooding Antoine who lingers the longest. The outsider of this family, and an alien to their strange incestuous world, Catherine has yet to be corrupted by their complex web of shared history and past mistakes.

She can see things the others can’t because, unlike the rest of Louis’ family, she doesn’t make everything about herself and actually listens to him, allowing Catherine and Louis to make a genuine connection.

Which is a rare thing in the crazy spaces that most families seem to inhabit.

Or should that be inhibit?

It’s hard for me to be objective about It’s Only The End Of The World, as it strikes a chord that’s a little too close to home for comfort.

And because of that, I hope that no-one in my family will read this review.

Not that it matters, what with the actual end of the world looming over the horizon.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2017