directed by Louise Archambault
starring Sylvie Moreau, Macha Grenon, Mylène St-SauveurMichelle is a compulsive gambler, she has a 14-yea-rold daughter be she can barely take care of herself. She steals from friends and even her daughter so she can somehow get a few bucks to play a poker game or have a try to one of those slot machines. She lets her mom's husband touch her for a few bucks as well. She has no self-respect. She is manipulative and she is good at idea, she makes people care for her, even though they know most of what she says is a lie.Janine has two kids. Her husband is always away for work living in hotel rooms, or at least, thats what she thinks. For her, appearances are more important than anything else. She is a little snobbish and repress all her feelings. She is annoyingly mannered but she also really is a sick person, but no one can tell, and when she tries to express it, even her mother makes it sound ridiculous, not to change the appearances that everything is always alright.Margot is Michelle's daughter. She spends the night in clubs, wake up in the bathroom no clue what happened to her. She acts cool cause she drinks. She is like that cause her mother is irresponsible.Gabrielle is Janine's 13-year-old daughter. She hates her mom, she calls her Hitler in her back. She's not just a teenager, she has reasons, she just hopes for a bit more freedom without wanting to be too extreme or a little whore. She just want to be a teenager, but she is influenced by her cousin, Margot.Michelle and Janine are pretty much the opposite of each other, but they have been friends since they were kids. Michelle had an affair with Janine's brother when he was married and thats how she had her daughter. Michelle is the way she is cause her mother was like that. Its the same with Janine and seeing the way things are going, the daughter fatherless teenage girls are on their way to be like their mothers as well. Like mother like daughter. Although, they really are the most lucid characters in those messy lives.The year 2005 was a strong one for Quebec cinema. This film makes thats statement very true Along with C.R.A.Z.Y., L'Audition and Maurice Richard, Familia is a memorable piece of French-Canadian filmmaking that came out that year. Louise Archambault's directorial debut is so maturely written and directed, it feels as if she had been making movies for years. André Turpin, probably the best cinematographer in Canada, does a great job as usual, giving the film some desaturated colors but also giving the feel of a hot summer in the suburbs.The acting is nearly perfect, from every single actors in the film. Sylvie Moreau, known for her comedic talents, does more than a great job, she is totally convincing as Michelle. Macha Grenon totally becomes her character as well, Janine. She brings many subtleties to her performance. Mylène St-Sauveur as Margot is very good and in control which is rare for a child actor. Last but not least, Juliette Gosselin, who was the ultimate revelation of Nouvelle-France is just so powerful as the young Gabrielle. The rest of the cast is just plain good as well.Familia is a film about two friends coming together, dealing with their own problems while raising their teenage daughters. They have different ways of doing so, their values arent the same and ultimately many tensions are created. The film is so well-done it takes a second watch to fully appreciate the subtleties of the perfectly-written screenplay and the way director Archambault translated it into images without having to make everything so bold.A profound reflection on what family really is about, but also a film about growing up, and thats not only true for the kids but also the adults. Many more themes are touched and they all bring some good insights. The ending is so powerful, one of the best scenes I have ever scene in any film of any year. Its so well-acted and at that very moment, we understand that the character has really lost it, she kept it inside for too long. I find that weird, cause I just praised the ending and many people complained about the film not having one. I guess they didnt understand the entire film was building towards that finale moment, and that, from the very beginning.Familia is a powerful drama with many memorable scenes. Terrific acting, sublime direction and photography. Heartbreaking and frustrating in a good way, its definately a must see, an amazing character study.