Published Sep 20, 2012Laurence Anyways (the third film from Canadian director Xavier Dolan) is a mesmerizing love story of epic proportions and extraordinary circumstances. After astonishing with his first feature, J'ai Tue Ma Mere, Dolan stumbled in his sophomore effort, Les Amours Imaginaires. His latest may need nearly three hours to tell its tale, but it's a testament to just how deep love can run between two people.
Laurence Alia (Melvil Poupaud) is a 35-year-old college professor, who is happily in love with his partner, Fred (Suzanne Clement). Thanks to two passionate and powerful performances, we can see quite clearly what a great bond there is between them. That bond is severely tested when Laurence announces to Fred that he can no longer go on living as a man when he knows, in his soul, that he was, in fact, meant to be a woman.
Naturally, Fred is thoroughly freaked out, but when two people are so intertwined in each other's existences, it can be incredibly difficult to separate from that. Their love goes further than just the physical, but can changes to the body eclipse that love?
Dolan continues to establish himself as a unique and fascinating Canadian voice (some call him Canada's Almodovar). Laurence Anyways spans a full decade ― the '90s, to be specific ― which allows Dolan to take his time with his characters and their relationship.
Transsexuality is still taboo to this day, so setting this story 20 years ago not only highlights how difficult their lives must have been, but also just how brave they were for choosing love and holding each other's hands throughout every moment of this great change.
By the time the film closes, it is clear that Dolan has pulled off a pretty tricky feat: Laurence Anyways transcends transsexuality to become a spectacular lament for love itself. (Alliance)