Heartbeats (Canada; 95 min.)

directed by:
Xavier Dolan
starring: Monia Chokri; Niels Schneider; Xavier Dolan; Anne Dorval
Les amours imaginaires
Michael says:  "Caught up with HEARTBEATS, Xavier Dolan's follow-up to the Chlotrudis multiple-nominee, I KILLED MY MOTHER. Once again, Dolan writes, directs and stars, this time tackling the mysteries of love, particularly in the more modern age of fluid sexuality. It's interesting actually that HEARTBEATS is so firmly grounded in modern-day, youth culture, with the parties, cafes and restaurant hang-outs, because it feels and looks like a technicolor throwback to the French New Wave. Monia Chokri's Marie particularly, looks as if she had stepped off a 60s, French movie screen with her vintage clothes, hairdo, and deadpan delivery. HEARTBEATS is a beautifully shot film, with a nomination for Production Design a given. Dolan's acting is strong as well, with a more fully realized maturity than in his debut.

"That said, for me, I KILLED MY MOTHER is a better film, and it is in the screenplay where this is fully evident. For I KILLED MY MOTHER, I was amazed because the screenplay was so fully realized, and seemed to come from a much older, more experienced man looking back on a difficult point in his youth, coming to terms with both his sexuality, and his feelings for his mother. The fact that Dolan wrote the screenplay so young is a testament to his skill and his self-awareness. HEARTBEATS however, a film about a charismatic young man, beloved by all, and in particular, the object of affection of best friends Marie and Frank, is about falling in love, and seems to come from the point-of-view of someone very young who hasn't had a whole lot of of experience with it. There are some wonderfully insightful moments in HEARTBEATS, but overall the story is lacking and fails to really make a point that is profound or particularly insightful.

"Still, it's an accomplished film, well worth watching, and a great step for Dolan's career. He's definitely a filmmaker to keep an eye on, and I plan on doing just that. 3 1/2 cats"