As with any Cannes Film Festival, there were plenty of controversies at this year’s gathering of the international film community. Reactions to Nicolas Winding Refn‘s latest, The Neon Demon, ranged from admiring to visceral hatred, eliciting more than a few boos at the first press screening. To be fair, boos often seem like they energize Refn, and he seemingly seeks them out in certain passages of The Neon Demon.
The reactions to Xavier Dolan‘s latest film, It’s Only the End of the World, were not quite as vitriolic but it nevertheless felt like Dolan’s first big misfire. For me, the problem was already there in his last film, Mommy, the underwhelming follow-up to Dolan’s exquisite Laurence Anyways, but word is that this family drama, adapted from Jean-Luc Lagarce‘s play of the same name, is especially unfocused and desperately emotional.
The one upside that critics have unanimously highlighted is that the film, which you can check out the trailer for below, has an amazing cast, stacked with some of France’s best performers, including the regal Nathalie Baye as the matriarch of the family, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, and Gaspard Ulliel as the main protagonist, who comes home to tell his family that he’s dying. Even with the bad buzz, I’m excited to see what Dolan does here, as he is, if nothing else, an artist with a unique vision, one that can be felt in his excellent early films (I Killed My Mother, Heartbeats) as well as in his later ones. For that alone, even Dolan’s less-than-good films are worth the watch.
Here’s the first full trailer for It’s Only the End of the World:
Here’s the official synopsis for It’s Only the End of the World:
After 12 years of absence, a writer goes back to his hometown, planning on announcing his upcoming death to his family. As resentment soon rewrites the course of the afternoon, fits and feuds unfold, fueled by loneliness and doubt, while all attempts of empathy are sabotaged by people’s incapacity to listen and love.