Xavier Dolan’s 6th feature film, Juste la fin du monde, stars France’s strongest performers: Nathalie Baye, Léa Seydoux, Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, and Gaspard Ulliel. Based on Jean-Luc Lagarce’s play of the same name, the story follows Louis (Ulliel), a terminally ill writer, who decides to go back home after 12 years to announce his death to his family.
As the film begins, we are introduced to Louis’ character. His sudden return back home sets a very stressful and heavy mood, which is the energy the film plays with. The mother (Baye), a neurotic French woman, is beyond excited to see her son again. His younger sister, Suzanne (Seydoux), is anxious to meet her older brother, who she seems to not know very much. Louis’ older brother, Antoine (Cassel), acts indifferent and stubborn to his little brother’s arrival. Antoine’s wife (Cotillard) is also part of the family reunion but has never met Louis. She is quiet and does not really know what to expect.
Dolan picked once again an interesting piece of theatre to bring to screen. Juste la fin du monde offers similar themes previously presented in his filmography such as human relationships and a dysfunctional family. The film perfectly depicts the flaws and unspoken issues of what it is like to be part of a family.
While attending the press conference at the ATL Hotel in Griffintown, Dolan explained he was drawn to Lagarce’s characters and how honestly they are portrayed. These characters all play a very specific role to demonstrate the struggles of being part of a family. Throughout the film, the performances are genuine, honest and heavy to be absorbed which makes Juste la fin du monde an emotional film. With this kind of truth projected on the screen, it is extremely easy to relate to this family and even recognize some of our families in the film.
What I appreciated the most in Juste la fin du monde was to witness what these characters decide to do and tell each other with the little space and time they have together. At the end of the film, it does not matter to know what Louis is dying of and whether he decides to tell his family or not. It really comes down to the characters’ human flaws and their choices of how to deal with them.
Juste la fin du monde is now playing in theatres.