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A Celebration of Familial Love and Individual Resilience

  • Jan 20, 2007
Rating:
+5
C.R.A.Z.Y. is a miraculous little film from Quebec written with pitch perfect dialogue by Jean-Marc Vallée and François Boulay, on whose memories of his own experiences the story is based, directed with tremendous zest and sensitivity by Jean-Marc Vallée, and with a cast of fine actors that would be impossible to duplicate. Yes, it really is that fine. The title of the film may put some people off as silly, so let it be said early on that the letters C.R.A.Z.Y. represent the first names of the sons of the Beaulieu family - and the fun, hilarious and touching story starts from there!

Christmas Day is the birth of Zachary Beaulieu (impressive Marc-André Grondin as a young man and Émile Vallée as a youth), the fourth son of Gervais Beaulieu (a brilliant Michel Côté) and his seemingly perpetually pregnant wife Laurianne Beaulieu (Danielle Proulx, a superb actress), and at his birth he is immediately dropped on the floor, 'dies' for a few seconds, and is resuscitated, a fact which later leads his mother to consult her Tupperware friend/seer about Zachary's power from God to heal other people. The children include Raymond who is a boisterous youth and later a worthless drifter/panhandler (played by Pierre-Luc Brillant as a young man but also played as a youth by Emmanuel Raymond and Antoine Côté-Potvin); Christian (Maxime Tremblay as a young man and Jean-Alexandre Létourneau as a youth; Antoine (Alex Gravel as a young man and Sébastien Blouin as a youth; and Yvan (Félix-Antoine Despatie and Gabriel Lalancette). Each brother has a particular personality, whether a bookworm, an athlete, a ne're-do-well or a dreamer and we watch the family adapt to each of the brothers' idiosyncrasies.

But it is Zachary who is the focal point as he struggles with his sexual identity from childhood on through his teenage denial years while dating a girl, to his final longing for the unreachable relationship with a man as an adult. His 'powers' of healing he uses to great advantage for his family and he gradually becomes disenchanted with the omnipresent Catholic Church, a force that plays heavily in his fantasy life and dreams and fears. As the years pass from 1960 to 1971 we are allow to watch a family connect, fragment and ultimately survive, always bound to traditions of holiday and love. Gervais claims all of the good points of his boys as patterned after him, yet as he faces Zachary's possibly being gay he balks and it is only after a mesmerizing life changing experience Zachary undergoes that Zachary and Gervais finally find the mutual love they have both needed.

Though the film is long (running time is over two hours) the film seems to fly past us like a comet of experience to which we all can relate. The performances are so very powerful that they sweep us away with the amount of love they exhibit: Danielle Proulx as the mother is so subtle in the little things she does for her beloved though at times wayward sons that she glows and Michel Côté steals the screen as a father searching for understanding of his crew of crazy boys. But the revelation is Marc-André Grondin's embodiment of Zachary that is nothing short of a miracle of acting. There is not a weak moment in this little masterpiece of filmmaking and one hopes that it will be released and widely publicized in the theaters in the USA as it deserves standing ovations! Highly recommended. In French (Quebecois) with English subtitles. Grady Harp, January 07

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review by . July 24, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
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About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #42
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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DVD Release Date: November 1, 2005
Runtime: 129 minutes
Studio: Tva Films

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"A Canadian Beauty"
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