It's Only the End of the World
Canadian enfant terrible Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World – winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes (and the Ecumenical Jury Prize) – boasts a fantastic ensemble cast, evidencing a growing casting clout after the success of his superlative 2014 melodrama, Mommy.
Gaspard Ulliel plays Louis, a writer; Nathalie Baye his whimsical mother; Léa Seydoux his sullen, punky sister; Vincent Cassel his volatile brother Antoine and Marion Cotillard, Antoine’s diminutive wife Catherine.
The story is adapted from a stage play by Jean-Luc Lagarde, and follows Louis as he returns to the troubled family home with an awful secret to share. Their reunion is something like a volcanic eruption, as Dolan exploits (much as he did in Mommy) the dramatic power and claustrophobic nature of dysfunctional familial love, and the difficulty – perhaps, impossibility – of maintaining such toxic relationships.
It’s a histrionic story, and one which feels at times like an assault on the audience – but which is played with such conviction, and styled with such an emphatic sense of drama by Dolan that it is effortlessly cinematic, and sweeps you away.