28/09/2012

LFF: Celeste and Jesse Forever and Laurence Anyways

The 56th London Film Festival doesn't start until October 10th but us lucky press types have been watching films all week. Mwahahahahaha!

First up was the much ballyhooed Celeste and Jesse Forever which is the newest rom-com attempting to subvert the genre by not being shit and starring Kate Hudson. Celeste and Jesse are a different kind of rom-com couple considering they're in the middle of a divorce, but by living together, socialising together and frequently professing the love that blossomed in adolescence, neither seem to be too bothered about ending their six-year union. I'll be honest, despite having mushy feelings for the entire cast (minus Emma Roberts, who's rumoured to be a right bitch) I spent the first 20 minutes trying to stifle my sighs at their annoying hipster ways (a running joke involving beating off tiny phallic objects and some personal sign they make at each other despite being in their 30s) but just as I was beginning to give up hope things got going. After a night trying to build Ikea furniture leads to a drunken tryst (we've all been there), their break-up finally begins and things take an unexpected turn when Jesse discovers that he's impregnated a one night stand from weeks ago.

What follows is a mildly entertain but lightweight dramedy that's significantly hindered by poor writing. Example: Once Celeste realises that she's fucked up and lost her husband as well as childhood friend and jealousy rages in her embittered heart, she gets depressed and starts acting a fool. Suddenly she's smoking weed and cigarettes despite lecturing her ex about those very habits and although it's true that depressed people tend to dive into a tub of ice cream, they don't signify losing it by wiping condiments all over their face. Still, it's perfectly average and should be given points for attempting to do something new even if it doesn't entirely fly.
You know what else doesn't fly? Wunderkid Xavier Dolan's new film that clocks in at an arse-numbing 159 minutes. *seamless transition over*

Laurence Anyways is about a couple who try to deal with the man's unexpected decision to become a woman. It's a sprawling melodrama that balances Dolan's love of arty slow-mo set to classic songs and music with his lead actors' (Melvil Poupaud and Suzanne Clément) considerable talent. I can easily see why people would find Dolan's filmmaking style tiresome and lacking in substance but this should satisfy even those who don't appreciate pounding 80s classics and batwing bomber jackets. Admittedly during some sequences I grew restless but overall this is a strong addition to the 23-year old's filmography and more importantly, I now know how to say "you stupid fucking cunt" in French. You never know when that might come in handy.