C.R.A.Z.Y. (Jean-Marc Vallée). 127 min. A TVA release. Subtitles. Opens Friday (October 14). For venues and times, see Movie Listings . Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
C.R.A.Z.Y. is a highly likeable and richly nuanced comedy-drama about growing up gay in an ordinary suburban Quebec family in the 60s and 70s. Though the story places the painful estrangement of father and son at the centre, writer/director Jean-Marc Vallée takes time and care to make all the characters well-rounded individuals with lives going on outside the main plotline.
Gervais, the father, is played with perfect naturalism by Quebec veteran Michel Coté (Cruising Bar). Gervais loves being a father like he loves his Patsy Cline records. So when youngest son, Zack ( Marc-André Grondin ), shows early signs of being gay, his anger and estrangement have a context -- he's a homophobe, but he's no one-dimensional villain.
While struggling with family, his sexuality and growing up in general, Zack must also contend with mystic powers. He and the movie don't take these too seriously, but their presence adds a spiritual dimension to Zack's flights of fancy -- notably his levitation during midnight mass to the strains of Sympathy For The Devil -- and to his journey to Israel when he finally flees his family.
Vallée brings polished, fluid camera work and pacing to both fantasy and realistic sequences. His affection for all his characters gives equal spark to the comedy and the drama. The result is a strong humanist film that speaks to more than just its central issue.