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Frédérick De Grandpré
Born Christmas Day 1960, Zac Beaulieu is the fourth of five sons of Gervais and Laurianne Beaulieu. Zac feels somewhat disconnected to his brothers, all of whom are different from each other. They include the bookworm Christian who is the eldest, the dumb jock Antoine who is third, and the youngest Yvan. But Zac has the most contempt for his second eldest brother, the shiftless druggie Raymond. To his devout Catholic mother, Zac is her miracle son, both for being born the same day as Jesus Christ (a fact which Zac has always hated), and because a Tupperware-selling mystic once told her that he has the power to heal. Laurianne has always coddled Zac, the two who have a special if unspoken bond. But Zac wants more to please his father, who wants more than anything in his sons that they grow up to be man's men and not sissies. As Zac goes through his mid-teens to early twenties, Zac isn't sure if he can live up to the ideals of either his mother or especially his father. A young man with... Written by
The end titles finish showing the first names of the five sons in capital letters in the order of birth: Christian . Raymond . Antoine . Zacharie . Yvan . Then all the letters dissolve, with the exception of each first letters, thus creating (and explaining) the title of the film: C.R.A.Z.Y. See more »
To say it bluntly, it is to my advice the best Quebec movie ever made, and from a more global perspective a very good movie no matter what you choose to compare it to.
It is a story about a young homosexual (although it isn't clearly stated in the film, and it probably would be closer to the truth to say he's bisexual), born in the 60's. We see him evolving through the next three decades, with all the difficulties one might see in having troubles with sexual orientation in theses years (among which the perception of other people of his age, questions about himself because of the taboo nature of the topic, problems having it accepted by parents and so on).
There's many things that make me to say it's the best Quebec-made movie ever. First of all, it's actually quite different from anything else to come from Quebec, as far as I can think of it. This is quite surprising, since almost all the action takes place in this province. It's far more dramatic and emotional than anything else before (maybe saved Sur le Seuil which was more tragic). Besides, Quebec has always produced a lot of humor-oriented movies (les Boys, Quebec-Montreal, etc), which do have some charm but also feel like they have all been made out of the same recipe, Quebec humor being one of a kind. It's also successful in not falling into traditional clichés of Quebec society in a given period of time (a thing that Séraphin, for example, failed to do), but at the same time depicting quite accurately what life was like at the time. It's also successful in incorporating a very diversified soundtrack, using both songs from Quebec and American cultures. That lacked in many films, although in reality you actually get both pretty much equally. To be able to recognize this and deal with it is worth being recognized. The casting is also pretty strong, in part because of the performances of the actors but also because there are some new faces in it. Another annoying tendency in movies made in Quebec is that often see the same faces over and over again.
If you put it in a larger frame, it is still a must see that I believe will get it's fair share of attention and prices outside the province. That's a thing that the Invasions Barbares did, but other than that it's hard to think of much more. The song track, besides being very good, is also brilliantly used. For example, the music Zac listens to is very representative of theses decades (you get Pink Floyd, David Bowie) and evolves with the character, and is also used to create some insides between the characters (like Hier encore j'avais 20 ans, that is sung every Christmas). The three main antagonists in the movie (Zac, his brother Raymond and his father) have developed relationships with each other that are by no mean static, and in fact no even always antagonistic. Even though the story is told from Zac's perspective, he's far from flawless, as all the other characters, except maybe for the mother, who's more than often the neutral, moderated one in the many conflicts that arise. Some dialogs are actually quite funny (like the one about sodomy between Zac's father and his wife, in which Michel Côté shows he's a damn good actor).
Finally, I would say that the movie is also successful in not using easy clichés when it comes to homosexuality. Many movies got fucked up when it came to that topic, but this one doesn't. As I said before, Zac is supposedly homosexual, although it's never clearly stated and he might also just be bisexual. You don't get any real dirty stuff. The conservatives point of view on the matter are mentioned (by his fathers, among others), but aren't overwhelmingly present either. The movie is well-balanced.
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