There’s something perversely enjoyable about watching a group of French actors, do French material with a very Quebecois slant to it all and still have it play reasonably well on a universal level.
It’s Only The End of The World is an emotional and powerful drama where a writer, after a 12 year absence decides to come home and announce his impending death. Sadly this family reunion goes the same route that many do as years of resentment and unspoken feelings overwhelm any attempts at empathy and compassion.
Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan returns with a quality piece of drama that allows for some memorable moments but floats a little too much as it doesn’t quite know what to do with itself from a tonal level.
Dolan evokes some impassioned performances from his ensemble but they get over done by too many stylistic close-ups and melodramatic beats where he took it all far too seriously. The movie never plays in any kind of resolutions but exactly the opposite of that. These people all love each other, but they also don’t necessarily understand each other either, which is something that translates universally across all languages.
Ultimately, It’s Only The End of The World will end up ranking somewhere in the middle of the Xavier Dolan canon. He’s quite good at building tension and getting a story from A to B, but he lacks the ability to let the material occasionally breathe on its own and not take itself too seriously.