Zachary Beaulieu was born on December 25, 1960, the fourth son of loving parents Gervais (Michel Côté) and Laurianne (Danielle Proulx). He idolizes his father, and as a six year old, Zachary (Émile Vallée) has to compete for his father's attention. Life's highlights are outings with his music-crazy father, whose vinyl record collection comprises albums by Patsy Cline, Charles Aznavour and Buddy Rich. In the years that follow, as Zak (Marc-André Grondin) grows up, there are conflicts with his brothers, motorbike escapades to impress the girls, cigarettes smoked in secret and a rift with his father which he desperately tries to resolve.
Review by Louise Keller:
My favourite scenes in C.R.A.Z.Y. are those that use music in an integral way. As a youngster and one of five sons, Zak lives for the moments when he and his father Gervais drive to Norman Le Roi's roadside snack bar just the two of them, for a secret rendez- vous with French fries. En route, in the car, the music is blaring, and Gervais sings along with Charles Aznavour's 'Emmène-moi' at the top of his voice. 'Take me to the ends of the world' goes the song; these are the precious moments when Zak feels at last, he is his father's favourite. It's a lovely scene, filled with joie de vivre that is for the most part lacking in Zak's life. The film's title CRAZY refers not only to the title song of the vinyl album by Patsy Cline ('Crazy, I'm crazy for feeling so lonely...'), but to Zak's dysfunctional family. It is this very album that plays an integral part in the falling out and rediscovering of the father-son relationship that lies at the film's heart, as Zak struggles with his sexuality and self esteem.
Central performances from Michel Côté and Danielle Proulx as Zak's parents are filled with nuance, and both Emile Vallee and Marc-Andre Grondin as the child and teen Zak are outstanding. Grondin captures all the angst of Zak's nebulous sexuality, as he combats denial of his natural instincts.
But C.R.A.Z.Y. goes far beyond what could have simply been a coming of age story. Director Jean-Marc Vallée delves beneath all the complex layers that unite and divide a family. The disdain of siblings, a mother's unconditional love, a father's hard-wired repulsion of homosexuality. 'There's no way I sired a fairy,' Gervais retorts. Both Gervais and Zak are symbolically drenched as rain teems down in the open car park as father confronts son. There is nothing to protect either of them from the harshly impacting emotional trauma. The film's resolution after Zak's pilgrimage to Jerusalem, is totally unexpected, and the emotional power in the final scenes hits hard.
C.R.A.Z.Y. is wryly funny, deeply moving, and always real. And the song is apposite: 'I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying, And I'm crazy for loving you.'
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CAST: Michel Coté, Marc-André Grondin, Danielle Proulx, Emile Vallée, Pierre-Luc Brillant, Maxime Tremblay, Alex Gravel, Natasha Thompson, Johanne Lebrun, Mariloup Wolfe, Helene Gregoire,
PRODUCER: Pierre Even, Jean-Marc Vallée
DIRECTOR: Jean-Marc Vallée
SCRIPT: Jean-Marc Vallée, Francois Boulay
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Pierre Mignot
EDITOR: Paul Jutras
MUSIC: David Bowie
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Patrice Vermette
RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Rialto
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 31, 2006
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
VIDEO RELEASE: February 21, 2007
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