Published Feb 26, 2009Set in suburban Quebec in the summer of 1968, C'est Pas Moi, Je Le Jure! is as adorable as it is tragic. Philippe Falardeau's latest tells the story of ten-year-old Léon as he experiences the pangs of growing up in the strangest family on the block. After his mother leaves abruptly to start a new life in Greece, Léon becomes obsessed with finding a way to bring her back. In the meantime, he's fallen in love with Léa next door and committed some major criminal offences.
C'est Pas Moi, Je Le Jure! is at times, unbelievably light, especially for a film that depicts at least three attempted suicides by a ten-year-old. The first scene has Léon dangling from the tree in his front yard after he's tried to hang himself. The rest of the film continues in a similar vein, often blurring the border between delightfully innocent and darkly disturbing. Antoine L'Écuyer in the lead role of Léon is fascinating to watch and successfully holds up the film with the help of the equally talented cast. From chilling scenes to moments of hilarity, the film is impeccably paced and always keeps the story going.
A love story, dark comedy, family drama and tragedy all in one, the film explores everything from Catholicism in '60s Quebec to domestic violence and growing up. Its effect is hard to place and will have you thinking long after it is over. Despite its many funny moments, it still manages to be unsettling against the candy-coated '60s backdrop. C'est Pas Moi, Je Le Jure! is complex, strange and one to remember. (E1)