Laurence Anyways [DVD Review]

Laurence Anyways

Now out on video, Laurence Anyways is an epic film that tells the story of Laurence, a writer and college professor, who wants to go from being a man to being a woman.

Set in the 1990s in Montreal, Laurence Anyways is about the struggle Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) and his girlfriend Fred (Suzanne Clement) experience in accepting Laurence's decision and desire to change his appearance, which causes problems in their marriage.

Over the course of 10 years, we see them desperately trying to hold on to their relationship, with Fred having the hardest time dealing with the situation, even though she loves him with all her heart.

Meanwhile, Laurence slowly transitions, gradually wearing women's clothes outside of the house. At first, Fred thinks that Laurence is gay, but that is not the case. Laurence simply feels he was born into the wrong body. Eventually, they separate, but then get back together, as Fred feels she really needs to be by his side to support him, such is the love she has for him.

She gives him makeup tips and tells him how to dress, even helping him to buy a wig. But over time she starts feeling neglected and frustrated, and her mother and sister tell her to leave him. Meanwhile, Laurence's mother, who was never close to her son, has a hard time accepting and listening to Laurence when he breaks the news to her. Their relationship is strained at best, and it is does not help that his boring father, who is home-bound and needs constant attention from the mother, is oblivious to the family issues around him. Eventually she comes around and accepts Laurence as the daughter she never had.

At 161 minutes, Laurence Anyways is not a short film, but every scene, every shot, every word spoken is elegant. The story is extremely crisp, the cinematography very luscious, and the actors are both superb. The story is not only riveting, but the imagery of some of the scenes are in slow motion, and these scenes will take your breathe away. And the final scene, which shows how Laurence and Fred first met, will bring a tear to your eye. Their relationship, trying and tumultuous throughout, is an unforgettable journey.

This is the third film by Director Xavier Dolan, who is only 23 and a former child actor, which shows what kind of immense talent he is. His previous film, Heartbeats, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, and won the top prize of the Official Competition at the Sydney Film Festival, all at the tender age of 20. Laurence Anyways has won the Queer Palm Award and Best Actress for Clement at this year's Cannes Film Festival, two awards it richly deserved. It also premiered at the London Film Festival in October 2012, and recently was shown at the London Gay & Lesbian Film Festival to much applause. Dolan's next project will be an adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard's play Tom a' la Ferme.

Laurence Anyways is an amazing film that you owe it to yourself to see.