Critic Consensus: An art film to the max, Heartbeats intriguing and appealing premise is sometimes buried by director Xavier Dolan's filmmaking flourishes.
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Critic Reviews for Heartbeats
It can seem as if style is all in Dolan's films, but as well as revelling in its pleasures, they also dissect its limitations - sometimes without anaesthetic.
Ultimately what makes "Heartbeats" tick is that it's less about love objects and more about friends who are stuck with each other, for better or worse.
Spends 100 minutes dispensing painful examples of how infatuation turns people into idiots.
There are moments of heartbreaking beauty in it - although Dolan is still a work in progress. He'll get better - he's immensely talented - but he's not quite there yet.
May be the most raw and visceral cinematic portrayal of infatuation I've ever seen, with nearly every shot conveying aching, unrequited desire.
Audience Reviews for Heartbeats
A spectacular film that left me astonished. Xavier Dolan is so young but already so incredibly talented and full of ideas, and he proves it once again, starring, directing and producing this fascinating work about passion, obsession and the idealized nature of unrequited love.
As with his first film, Dolan's "Heartbeats" is interested in the passive-aggressive, and his style brings these little things that people do to the forefront. A subtle and by times surreal film about a presumably bisexual Adonis and the man and the woman who are in love with him, this film goes even further, punctuating itself with interviews à la When Harry Met Sally, allusions to classic films (Breakfast at Tiffany's) and raw, personal moments as well. In my opinion, Dolan wrote a little past the ending in this one - there was a beautiful ending about four minutes before the actual ending - but I can see how it works both ways. Another hit from the French-Canadian Fellini, though. Dolan is one of the world's best up-and-coming directors: get in on the ground floor and see ths movie!
In "Heartbeats," Nicolas(Niels Schneider), a friend of a friend, is in Montreal after completing a temp job on an oil platform. Considering how handsome he is, it is no wonder that both Marie(Monia Chokri) and Francis(Xavier Dolan, who also writes and directs) are attracted to him. That's especially true after he formally invites them both to this place to watch a movie. After which, they all sleep in the same bed together.
As dull and flat as "Heartbeats" is, the movie does make one valid point when Francis says that some vintage nostalgia should be done away with. Applying that to the French New Wave, I personally think it is alright to venerate those films, but not imitate them which is what is going on here with Dolan adding little of interest or personality of his own. The interviews serve no purpose except to test the zoom function on the camera and might have worked if they had all been about the same person, which would have complemented the rest of the film nicely. In fact, the movie turns completely on a single conceit that while it makes perfect sense could be read in two ways, both equally cruel. Instead, I would have preferred a positive message about how adults need to share, too.
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