The movie highlights ten years in the life of a literature teacher named Laurence who transforms himself into a woman after years of concealing his feelings. Her tremulous relationship with her family is further complicated by revealing herself to them while she struggles to find comfort with her significant other Frédérique. Though others may not initially accept or understand Laurence in her true form, those who knew her before her transformation still know her as Laurence, anyways.Written by
Coming out as a transsexual proves challenging for a high school teacher in this French Canadian drama directed by Xavier Dolan and starring Melvil Poupaud. He undergoes predictable trouble at work (though curiously from his colleagues - not his pupils who respect his courage) and ends up losing his job. His parents also expectedly reject him and he has trouble dining in public without someone making some comment about his looks. Not so expected though is Poupaud's long term girlfriend's decision to stick with him throughout his ordeal, and Suzanne Clément is superb as the young lady in question who, despite all doubts, claims to still need his "forearms". Set over a ten year period, the couple's relationship is tested at several points but their connection is absolutely undeniable and there is a potent scene in which they encounter another trans couple who claim that "gender is shallow" and it is "the person" who matters. Truer relationship advice may have never been said, but it is to the film's credit that it is does everything to challenge this, highlighting how difficult is for one to achieve happiness in a world full of societal expectations and heavily drilled norms. At nearly three hours long, the film runs a little long and is never quite as intense at it could be. The extra runtime allows Dolan to experiment with some neat stylistically touches though as things fall on the actors in slow motion to the tune of serene music. This in turn gives the film a dreamlike quality - rather fitting for a film about a human being realising his/her dreams beyond gender stereotyping.
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