Xavier Dolan’s screechfest It’s Only The End Of The World is simply insufferable

Boy wonder gives his cast nothing to do but snap and scream at each other

IT’S ONLY THE END OF THE WORLD (Xavier Dolan). Subtitled. 95 minutes. Opens Friday (September 23). See listing. Rating: NN

It’s Only The End Of The World won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year – and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, too. I have no idea how this happened, because the movie is, quite simply, insufferable.

Writer/director Xavier Dolan has turned Jean-Luc Lagarce’s 1990 stage play – about a young playwright who returns home after a 12-year absence to tell his family he’s dying – into a suffocating, empty experience.

Dolan assembles the prodigious talents of Gaspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye, Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel and Léa Seydoux, but gives his cast nothing to do but snap or scream at each other. 

Worse, he sacrifices any emotion or tension in the text with his inexplicable decision to frame roughly 90 per cent of the movie as tight close-ups on the face of whichever actor is speaking. 

If it had worked, that would be a daring aesthetic choice. But it doesn’t. 

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