It’s Only the End of the World “JUSTE LA FIN DU MONDE” (Xavier Dolan, 2016): Canada|France

It’s Only the End of the World by Xavier Dolan opens with 34-year-old gay playwright Louis (Ulliel) on a red-eye flight back to rural France after a 12-year absence from home. Via voiceover, Louis tells us that he wants to prove to himself that he is still “the master of [his] life” — not an easy task, given the family he’s got. Mom Martine (Baye) is a hysteric decked out in a sleek black wig with blue eye makeup and nails, during her first appearance we see her preparing herself and the house for her son’s anticipated visit; older brother Antoine (Cassel) is a seething hulk who routinely barks at his sweet, socially awkward wife Catherine (Cotillard); and younger sis Suzanne (Seydoux) is a chatty, tattooed pothead who’s pleasant enough when she’s not hurling hostilities at her mother or Antoine, which happened basically throughout the whole film. Everyone’s either hurt or angry — or both — that Louis has been away so long, especially Suzanne, for every step she made, she wanted acceptance from him as she firstly thought that Louis had left because of her as Antoine had mentioned out of anger.

Moreover, most problematically, the characters in this film just aren’t very interesting. Each gets his or her chance to confront Louis: Suzanne, who was a little girl when her brother left, wonders why he only sends postcards (which the mailman can read); Martine says she loves him despite the fact that he’s been an uncaring son; Catherine reveals that Antoine feels Louis isn’t interested in his life; and Antoine verbally abuses Louis in the car while they drive to buy cigarettes. There is so much resentment towards Louis and even Antoine’s wife. The first half, Antoine is dumbing down his wife by saying her stories were not interesting and that nobody cared about what she had to say. Making the situation very awkward, Louis and Catherine share and lock eyes for a moment, almost as if they were developing feelings for each other.

In the beginning of the film, we know Louis is going home because he has been holding a secret from his family, and he thought that it was finally time that he told them the truth. Throughout the whole film, we see him trying to somehow reveal the secret but can’t because of all the conflicts her experienced as soon as he entered the door. Was this why he left? What was that secret?

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