C.R.A.Z.Y. Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 10, 2013
I wasn't expecting this level of ambition. Not only do we see Zachary's story of self-discovery unfold from his birth to his mid 20s, we also see the evolution of his family and the surrounding culture from the 50s through the 70s.

Unexpectedly, the movie so accurately captures the horror and humiliation a child often goes through while suffering from nocturnal enuresis, or "bedwetting," when we see Zach get outed by kids at summer camp. By avoiding sleepovers, I managed to successfully keep my bedwetting known only to my immediate family, but that is where I was also shamed by my step-mother and step-brothers who lectured and teased me about being either too lazy or too chicken to go upstairs to the bathroom. My father, more nurturing in his approach but still lacking understanding, also believed it was voluntary. When I was five, a couple of years before my step-family came into the picture, he started paying me $5 for every night that I didn't wet the bed, inadvertently seeding my humiliation and confusion over whether I could fix myself if I really wanted to and why it it was that I subconsciously chose not to. Unlike 0.5-1% of adults out there and all people in the LGBT community, my developmental abnormality abruptly came to an end at age 13, confirming that assigning neurosis to my condition was absurd. Fortunately, kids are now blessed with the internet to educate themselves and even their families.

The message both me and Zachary learned is the same: do not trust people with your differences, exposing yourself will only result in further isolation and loneliness. This lesson is more acutely relevant for Zach, because he was also born with a more polarizing and permanent sexual difference that his father and society also believes are chosen behaviors, and he doesn't want to be outed again.

My biggest criticism with the film is that it seems confused and possibly ignorant about the main character's identity. When Zach is a young boy, he shows strong signs of "gender identity disorder," where he only wants a baby stroller for Christmas and he dresses up in his mother's clothes, puts on makeup, and acts like a mother to his infant brother. In the next timeline transition, immediately after his summer camp bedwetting trauma, this desire and behavior disappears entirely and never returns in the film, including when we see him alone. Instead, he becomes hardened and aggressive with a strong counterculture fashion sense and discovering an attraction to men. It's as if another writer took over and switched out Zach's brain, or at least the transgendered part.
Super Reviewer
July 14, 2009
Outstanding and affecting Quebecois film about growing up in gay in the 1960s and about the bond of family and the changing attitudes of an entire people, localized in one (traditionally large, Catholic) family with five sons. The film takes great advantage of fair use laws to get snippets of very well-known songs into the film - I presume; I don't think a Canadian independent budget would cover Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, Patsy Cline and more! - and it's beautifully shot and acted. It's one that might be hard to find outside of Canada, but it's a movie that's not to be missed.
Super Reviewer
September 20, 2011
One of the more realistic portrayals of what life might be like for a young gay boy, growing up in a family with a macho father and brothers. He tries so hard to be straight, prays daily, and hopes against hope that he can somehow transform himself. This film is about his journey, along with other family troubles. A very interesting sound track, highlighted by Patsy Cline's "Crazy". Overall a nice movie, albeit a little slow at times. Sometimes slow is not so bad...
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2011
CRAZY is one of the finest films ever produced in Canada, let alone French Canada. It is note and picture perfect. Above all else, this is a family movie, albeit not one for very young kids. Jean Marc Vallee is a prodigy and a visual and editing genius. The cast are wall to wall superb, but the performances of Michel Cote and Danielle Proulx as the loving, working class parents of a brood of five boys are deep, funny, and profoundly human. The subtle, handsome and charismatic Marc-Andre Grondin as Zac, the sexually confused protagonist has a huge future ahead of him.

On paper, this may look like a 'coming of age' or 'coming out' movie about growing up gay, and that is indeed the main conflict of the film. However, the family, all of them, are a living, breathing, loving and flawed unit. The sexual identity theme is incidental to what is a much larger and more meaningful message about family, love and acceptance. What Vallee shows in his script is an empathy and understanding of a wide array of different points of view; generations, and varying levels of self-awareness.

The 60s and 70s setting, (this is my own era, so I'm qualified) is staged in a completely convincing, organic and restrained way. It's never cheesy or ironic nostalgia. The songs by Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Charles Aznavour and especially Patsy Cline are contextually perfect, and support the drama and characters seamlessly. Valee's occasional flights of fancy and surrealism are just the right amount of seasoning to a mostly realistic film, but are never excessive. The 'Sympathy for the Devil' dream sequence is celebratory, joyful and extremely pertinent to a changing society, (in particular a changing Quebec which at the time is abruptly transitioning away from the dominant influence of the Catholic church).

I could not recommend this film highly enough. It lives in the same pantheon as coming of age cinema classics like 'The 400 Blows', 'Fanny and Alexander' or 'My Life as a Dog', in my humble opinion. Don't miss it.
Super Reviewer
½ February 7, 2011
Very strong performances in the story of one boy trying to find himself in a family in a loving but dysfunctional family. Seeing a story similar to my own in a different culture was nice for me as well.
Super Reviewer
December 13, 2006
The most impressive part of this film I feel is that it didn't need lots of explicit footage to tell the tale, nor did it focus totally on the Sexual element as such, but more of the every day things of growing and discovering his sexuality through variences in the people around him and also the attitudes of those close.

Cleverly working it's way from Birth to present day you really feel you see the character grow and develop before your eyes.
Super Reviewer
December 18, 2009
Growing up in this family, you'd have to be... C.R.A.Z.Y.
Super Reviewer
May 6, 2007
Never did I expect a Canadian family drama to be so highly enjoyable. Immediately from its first scenes it pulled me right in, placing me in a state of fascination for its very tangible and well-written characters. A feeling which gratefully would come to last throughout the entire plot.

Besides the qualitative writing, the true forte of this movie lies in its outstanding directing. Not since "Amelie from Montmartre" have I been treated to such a heavenly combo of good storytelling and visual superbness. At least, not as it comes to non-Hollywood productions.

All in all a must-see if you're in the mood for a great foreign-language film. Or as the french-canadians would say: Très bien!
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2008
Extremely well acted. Liking the fact that the director is making the effort to produce a cinematically engaging film in addition to chucking emotions at us. The imagery is effective where the plot is at times bare and too calculated. Also the most deceptive titling I've come across in a while, though I like that there is actually thought and repeating theme creating the odd title. It's on loads of my "recommended to you" lists, so when I pulled it up randomly out of the file fray, I was expecting a 70s American exploitation film. I didn't know I was gonna get a modern French film set in the 70s that exploits one character's "coming of out" plot to drive its main character changes. The sternness of the father is as compelling as say, Ma Vie en Rose, but the film is too tied up on Zac's sexuality, causing little attention to be paid to three of the five brothers (and their names make the title). The cinematic devices and music are happenin' but this just ain't "Breakfast on Pluto". The script is a facade of neatness, but with no real chunky thematic backbone to it. Some themes are overtly played with, but there is no emotion from the characters and story alone (without the sappy music and speed tampering shots). Worth a watch, but at the end of the day, just doesn't feel real or unreal enough to work. Falls into that obvious area in between - undeniably fictional drama.
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2007
sometimes made me cry, or laugh, or fall asleep. very uneven movie and even as i was sucked into the more emotional areas in the movie i was unsure of what to feel.
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2012
"C.R.A.Z.Y." is one of the best movies from Canada and with a gay coming-of-age story that I have seen. Focusing on the Z in "C.R.A.Z.Y." in the span of 20 years from 1960 on, Zachary grows up with four other brothers, Christian, Raymond, Antoine, and Yvan, in a conservative family in rural Quebec. Zach is different from the rest - he knows it since young, so do his parents. On top of this, he shares the same birthday as Baby Jesus and was once told he has the power to heal, and is thus seen by his devout Catholic mother as a miracle son. From this sprouts the pains of his growing up through puberty, as he discovers his nature, deals with the intentions of his father while garnering the love of his mother, and fights the pressures from his brothers and family friends. With its quirky introductions of Zach and his family in a voiceover narration, the beginning was very reminiscent to "Amelie". This light-heartedness evolves into something darker and more somber via its narrative and acting, but it is through this evolution that "C.R.A.Z.Y." finds its distinct voice and strengths.
Super Reviewer
January 3, 2010
A brilliant coming-of-gay story. Very surprising in presentation and nicely executed.
Super Reviewer
December 30, 2008
Another excellent gay movie. The transitions between time periods were flawless and unnoticeable. The actors were brilliant. They must have spent a small fortune on the music. Fascinating.
Super Reviewer
November 12, 2006
Absolutely stunning film, telling the story of Zac and his family of four older brothers, mother and father over 25 years from his birth in 1960. I have so many superlatives for this film I risk spouting hyperbole, but this is truly a terrific piece of work. Zac, born on Christmas day, grows up in a Catholic family (and his mother is convinced that that his date of birth means he has powers to heal the sick) feeling isolated, an outcast - he feels inexplicably different and longs only to fit in. As a child, Zac seems to be favored by his father but as he enters his teens there's a key shift change in their relationship and things are never the same. This has to be one of the most successful coming of age films, and more specifically, coming out films I have ever seen. C.R.A.Z.Y. features an exceptional performance from Marc-André Frondin as Zac, who convinces as a 15 year old right up until his mid twenties, inspired direction, with an array of camera and effects techniques that never grow tired and avoid pastiche, a perfect soundtrack (Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Patsy Kline, Pink Floyd) and a resonant, moving story. Gripping from beginning to end credits, the film finishes on a hopeful note that feels genuinely earned. *Love* it.
Super Reviewer
April 5, 2009
Coming of age...gay...cliched...so-so...
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2007
I decided one day to pick a random movie on Foxtel and watch it without reading anything about it. This was the movie I chose. Originally I was just going to watch the first five minutes and then go play Sims 2, as I was sitting out there deciding on names for my Prosperity Challenge (hence why most of the names of the Sims in that challenge come from this movie). Anyway, although it seemed kind of disjointed and random, I did enjoy it. But I am bias towards movies containing gay themes, as I love gay movies (yeah I don't know).
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2009
I really liked this. A story in which you actually care about the characters and what happens to them. Great acting, fantastic story, really cool direction. So well paced, just become one of my favorites.
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2008
Not very realistic at all but nice.
Super Reviewer
October 27, 2008
A fine story about the repressing teen.Well,it's more.A generation of freedom and libertarian ideas.Progressive and the movie does support that.I wish it could be a little less repetitive on the father-son relationship and the whole "queer" obstacle was more or less conservative at times instead being on an open side.Fabulous soundtrack though and Grondin looks promising on the lead role.
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2008
A French-Canadian film about a family coming together over the course of thirty years. The film focuses on Zac a young man trying to come to terms with his homosexuality, his criminal brother, his intolerant father and his waning Catholicism. The film is very creatively constructed and is able to effectively move through decades in a natural way. There are a lot of neat visual tricks, but it?s never style over substance. The film has a particularly good classic rock soundtrack, there?s a great scene midway through where the main character begins to envision a church congregation start singing along to ?Sympathy for the Devil? as he begins to float above them. The film has a title that is not very good as far making viewer want to watch, but the film is in fact quiet good.
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