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Eighteen-year-old Mathieu is vacationing at the beach with his family when he meets local teen Cédric. After an extremely erotic kiss, the boys begin a passionate romance, complete with skinny-dipping at night, nude dancing on the beach and intense lovemaking in the dunes. Yet as Mathieu grapples with his sexuality and copes with his sick mother, absent father and annoying kid sister his bond with Cédric grows stronger until it bursts. Written by
"Come Undone" appears to elicit a lot of opinions among the contributors to this forum. Granted, it's a film that promises a take on gay life, as most viewers expect and somehow, it gets away from that promise into an introspective view at a young man's soul. The film has a way of staying with us even when it has ended. It is a character study about how a young man gets involved into a love affair with someone so much different than him that, in the end, will leave Mathieu confused, hurt and depressed when things don't go according to what he hoped the relationship would be.
If you haven't seen the film, perhaps you would like to stop reading.
Sebastien Lifshitz, the director of the film, has told his story from Mathieu's viewpoint. Most viewers appear to be disoriented by the different times within the film, but there are hints that are not obvious, as one can see, in retrospect. The story is told in flashbacks that might add to the way some people will view the film. This is a story about the doomed the love Mathieu felt for Cedric and the ultimate breakdown of their life together.
First of all, Cedric, the handsome young local, pursues Mathieu until he succeeds in convincing him he likes him. Mathieu feels the attraction for Cedric too. We realize how different both young men are by the way Cedric tells Mathieu's family how he feels school is not for him. On the other hand, Mathieu, who wants to be an architect, finds beauty in the abandoned place where Cedric has taken him. We watch as Mathieu, reading from the guide book, wants Cedric's attention.
When Mathieu comes out to his mother, she wisely tells him about the importance of continuing his career. She also points out about what future both of them would have together, which proves to be true. Mathieu appears to have learned his lesson, the hard way. He goes on to an uncertain life with Cedric and attempts to take his own life. We watch him in the hospital speaking to a psychiatrist that has treated his wounded soul.
The ending might be confusing for most viewers, but there is a moment in the film when Mathieu goes to work in a bar where we see him washing glasses and looking intently to Pierre, the young man who frequents the bar. That is why when Mathieu goes looking for Pierre at his house, appears to be hard to imagine. Yet, we have seen the way Mathieu is obviously interested in Pierre. The last scene at the beach, when Pierre and Mathieu are seen strolling in the sand, has a hopeful sign that things will be better between them as they watch a young boy, apparently lost, but then realizing the father is nearby.
Jeremie Elkaim makes Mathieu one of the most complex characters in recent films. This is a young man who is hard to understand on a simple level. Mathieu has suffered a lot, first with the separation of his parents, then with his depressed mother and with losing Cedric. Stephan Rideau, who has been seen on other important French films, is equally good, as the shallow Cedric.
While "Come Undone" will divide opinions, the film deserves a viewing because of the complexity and the care Sebastien Lifshitz gives to the story.
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