C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)

Once in a while, a movie like “C.R.A.Z.Y.” will come up and smack you across the face. That was pretty much the experience I had watching this coming(out)-of-age family drama: Like the movie’s main character Zachary, I too was still-born, have chronic asthma, am gay, grew up French-Canadian in Québec, and figured out a path forward for myself in life via my love of music and the thrills of a liberated life it promised me, so in some ways “C.R.A.Z.Y.” instantly became very personal for me, not unlike my own private version of “The Truman Show.” I could relate to just about everything Zachary experiences throughout the movie as he navigates the dynamics among his four brothers and his homophobic father in the deeply regressive ’60s and ’70s (which was a deeply religious time for Quebecois). The acting is just about perfect: Marc-André Grondin is totally believable as the grown-up Zachary, radiating hostility, heartbreak and confusion in nearly every shot but still managing to keep the audience on his side, while Michel Coté and Danielle Proulx are both Oscar-worthy as his parents. But the real star of the show is Jean-Marc Vallée’s extraordinary direction: He can capture the rather grimy everydayness of lower-middle class life with authenticity and he’s just as adept with special effects, and that dexterous facility with his camera and actors is both visually striking and emotionally honest. This is a real triumph for all involved.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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