Canada’s Top Ten 2016: It’s Only the End of the World

A terminally ill man returns home to tell his family he’s dying in It’s Only the End of the World. Louis (Gaspard Ulliel) is a successful writer, who has returned home after a 12 year absence, with his ultimate goal being to tell them have he has a terminal illness. He is welcomed by his mother (Nathalie Baye), younger sister Suzanne (Léa Seydoux), and shy sister-in-law Catherine (Marion Cotillard). However, Louis’ temperamental brother Antoine (Vincent Cassel) is less than welcoming, with Louis’ visit only serving to reopen old wounds within this dysfunctional family.

Xavier Dolan (Mommy) directs this adaptation of Jean-Luc Lagarce, about a young man with an unspecified terminal illness, who returns home after being gone for a dozen years. Louis’ plan is to tell his family that he is dying, before leaving again. However, he is greeted with much excitement by a mother who missed  him, a sister he barely knew, and a sister-in-law he never met. The only one not happy about Louis’ return is his brother Antoine, who holds some deep resentment over his brother’s return.

Since debuting in 2009, actor- turned-director Xavier Dolan has become one of Canada’s hottest young filmmakers. The France co-production It’s Only the End of the World marks Dolan’s first steps into international filmmaking, as the film includes notable French actors Vincent Cassel, Marion Cotillard, Léa Seydoux. Shot mostly in close-ups, with the odd wide shot, It’s Only the End of the World literally puts you right in the face of this dysfunctional family as they spend the day together. The film keeps it ambiguous what exactly Louis’ terminal illness is, but it ultimately doesn’t matter, since the film is much more about the family’s reaction to Louis’ return, rather than the reason itself. With this film, Xavier Dolan keeps proving he’s a director to watch.

8 / 10 stars


Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).