For those who don't know, I enjoy quite a bit of Queer Cinema and while I don't review it nearly as much as I'd like to on this site, there are times when I watch a movie that I can't go without talking about for one reason or another. C.R.A.Z.Y. is one of those movies because it's just an all around decent film on the whole that is all drama and tension but never really anything beyond that. As a result it is actually a really well told and well done story in every sense of the word, particularly because of our main hero.
As far as being a part of Queer Cinema is concerned C.R.A.Z.Y. opts for something that explores the attitudes toward homosexuality and heterosexism more so than just sticking in a gay character who hopes to find a boyfriend so he can live happily ever after, or opts to showcase more than just simply homophobia. There's a lot to this movie. And... strangely enough, as far as Queer Cinema goes, I'm actually having a hard time figuring out why this one was actually objected to by so many people. There's no crazy sex in it. There's not a lot of bad language there's no nudity in it. In all fairness it's a pretty tame movie that doesn't even make the sexual orientation of its main character the focus of it all. Yet it never saw a stateside release despite being made in Canada and a lot of people still caution against letting someone watch it, but I don't actually really see why that's such a big deal. The other bad thing about this is that when C.R.A.Z.Y. was finally distributed in the US it came to us unrated which means it's one of those movies that's incredibly hard to find because a lot of places simply don't like selling Unrated films. Thus it's another movie in the realm of Queer Cinema that went under the radar of a lot of movie goers and with this one it's actually quite sad because it isn't just one of the better Queer Cinema movies out there, it's actually just a good movie in general.
Our movie centers on Zachary. He's the fourth of five boys born into his family. And he's a particular favorite of his father's. But he's also different than all his other brothers. He's slightly more effeminate and lives in a strictly Catholic family. Unfortunately for him he's born in Christmas day in 1960, which means his birthday is always overshadowed by that of Christmas. The movie will take us on a journey of his life. It begins when he's a child and progresses onward. At age seven he unknowingly declares war on his father when his father realizes he's not growing up like his four brothers before him. Zachary's father is hellbent on raising "Men." That is to say, boys who are very masculine. And because of being raised in this strictly heterosexist way we see just how far he goes to lie to himself while also dealing with his other brothers. The movie is, at it's heart, about a dysfunctional family, but it's also very much about a closeted homosexual who eventually comes to accept his own sexuality and a father who eventually has to learn to accept him.
The movie isn't exactly short, but it's absorbing. And because we're talking about Queer Cinema I'll set any heterosexuals mind at ease and say there isn't a lot of "gay" stuff in this movie. The main character doesn't fit into a whole host of stereotypes and thus it's actually somewhat disappointing that it takes so long for the heart of his sexuality to actually come into full focus. And when it does they opt for the "safe" way to do it. Which is fine for the story in a lot of ways, but still disappointing that it never fully goes the whole nine yards with this. To it's credit that's about the worst thing I can say about the movie.
All the other stuff the movie is surprisingly honest with and to a large degree, very emotionally investing. The five children in this movie are Christian, Raymond, Antoine, Zachary and Yvan. These five boys have all grown up in a strange manner. Christian is the egg head of the five brothers who is incredibly smart. Raymond is the trouble maker while Antoine is the all around sports guy. Zachery is the gay one who so desperately seeks the approval and acceptance of his father that he actually spends the majority of the movie leading on and getting into a relationship with a woman and Yvan is just the baby of the family. With such a huge cast it's no surprise that C.R.A.Z.Y. can't really develop the characters. We get a few quick glimpses of them, but the movie is just too overstuffed for all of them. You only need to know that Raymond and Zac are the important characters because they both are two strong dynamics. Raymond is the trouble maker who works a little too hard to showcase his masculinity by picking on his younger Zac mainly because he's well aware that his brother is probably gay. He is certainly aware that Zac is much more sensitive than his other brothers. But as the resident trouble maker he is also the one that falls the hardest of all the characters in the movie as he slips into a life of drugs and mischief.
The movie spans at least two decades in story telling and the characters actually grow accordingly. As a young male Zachery is very sensitive and is constantly told by his father what boys should be doing as opposed to what Zachery is actually doing. Raymond, by comparison, is always getting in trouble. By their teenage years Zachery has become something of a rebelious youth trying to run away from his sexuality in the process yet it is clear he still has sexual yearning for members of the same sex given some of the acts we see him do and a few things his father catches him doing. Raymond, in comparison is getting into drugs and bringing home girls to have sex with in the house. Again, nothing really graphic or anything like that is shown. Most of this stuff is implied or it stops short of actually showing us whole acts. We say Raymond kiss women and begin to take their clothes off but never the act of sex itself. By the time they both reach adulthood they're not that much different than when they were teenagers but that's fine because at this moment the movie shows us what it was coming to all along. At it's core C.R.A.Z.Y. is a coming of age story. And not just for our main character, but also for the father and Raymond.
And the father is one of more interesting and sympathetic characters. Mostly because of how badly he wants to raise his sons to be manly men and frowns on anything that could be considered "faggy" in his house. When the issue of homosexuality finally comes onto the table when our main character is tired of being living a lie the movie ramps up on so many emotional levels. And it's done really well. And mostly because the movie spends a lot of time investing in the main character, his issues, his sexuality and his relationship with his father that he so desperately wants while struggling to get his approval. Because of this the movie is good on so many levels that it's very hard to describe.
C.R.A.Z.Y. plays it safe with its sexuality, though. As I said once before in one of my reviews, it's a little odd how a lot of these kinds of movies take the sex out of homosexuality. And in some movies it's annoying, but every now and then the story is good enough without it. C.R.A.Z.Y. does a well enough job just showing our main character struggle. But it also does this as a means to not take away from the dysfunctional family dynamic. It's why it works.
For those who don't know the movie was filmed in Canada and is in French. It's subtitled and that might make some angry, but I've actually yet to meet a movie goer that actually hates subtitles as much as shows like The Simpsons keep telling me they do. For the most part I don't think people will mind them. What some might mind is that the movie takes its sweet little time developing the characters. Again, to me the pacing was appropriate given the story it's telling. In fact, I almost wish the movie were longer so that more of the characters could've been fleshed out. But it's also nice to see a movie take the struggle one has with his sexuality seriously.
Obviously, I would recommend this one a great deal. It does a little to transcend JUST being a part of Queer Cinema, but like so many movies doesn't really do anything to get into the mainstream. And that makes it incredibly hard to find. If you manage to get a hold of it or it actually plays on some movie channel or you have Netflix then by all means watch this movie!
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 … more
"C.R.A.Z.Y." A Canadian Beauty Amos Lassen and Cinema Pride Due out on commercial DVD in February and available now at Netflix is an amazing and bold little movie "C.R.A.Z.Y." (Red Envelope Entertainment). It has already been hailed as the best movie ever made in Quebec. "C.R.A.Z.Y." is the story of a young homosexual (although nerve really stated in the film) who was born in the 1960s. The viewer watches as he evolves … more
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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