C.R.A.Z.Y.

A sprawling coming of age story, the movie is made so much more rich by the fully developed peripheral characters. Basically, I was an emotional mess at the end.
C.R.A.Z.Y.

Genre(s): Drama

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée

Actors: Michel Côté, Marc-André Grondin, Danielle Proulx, Émile Vallée, Pierre-Luc Brillant, Maxime Tremblay, Alex Gravel, Natasha Thompson, Johanne Lebrun, Mariloup Wolfe

Year: 2005

MPAA Rating: R

Country: Canada

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A huge hit in Canada, C.R.A.Z.Y. basically swept the Genie Awards, winning almost a dozen awards, including Best Motion Picture. On the surface, you could classify it as a coming-of-age movie, or a gay-coming-of-age movie, or a father-son drama, or a family drama, or even a wacky 70s flashback comedy. While watching the film, you become aware of how easily the film blends all of these aspects into one sprawling narrative that comes close to needing an edit a few times, but then sucks you back in all over again.

Zac is a kid who thinks he has the coolest dad on the block. Dad (Michel Côté) wears fashionable shades, rolls up his sleeves like a tough guy, and sneaks his son out for burgers and fries. Mom (Danielle Proulx) also dotes on Zac, thinking he has healing gifts from God (or so says the local religious freak), but she has a special mother-son bond with him. After all, in a household of men (Zac has four brothers—three older and one younger), you can’t blame Mom for forming a special attachment to the sensitive one who can make babies stop crying with a cuddle.

As Zac becomes a teenager (at this point played by Marc-André Grondin), suddenly distance grows between him and his father. His father can’t understand why his son dresses glam and listens to Ziggy Stardust, when the crooning of Patsy Cline is certainly superior music. But when Dad suddenly gets an inkling that this “sensitive” son might be gay, all hell breaks loose.

Just explaining the storyline makes C.R.A.Z.Y. sound like a typical memoir movie… but it is so much more than that. The character of Zac is interesting enough to follow, but what makes this movie so rich is the fully developed peripheral characters of Zac’s family. Mom and Dad are wonderfully realized, and a side story with the black sheep of the family—older brother Raymond (Pierre-Luc Brillant)—at first seems secondary, but slowly creeps forward in importance to become a focal point for the development of all the characters.

When there was about half an hour of C.R.A.Z.Y. remaining, I started to feel like it needed to wrap up—I was thinking that the last tangent of the film was unnecessary. But by the end of the film, I was basically an emotional mess, one last time knocked upside the head by the so-obvious-it-should-be-cheesy revelation at the start of the credits. But I never felt manipulated—C.R.A.Z.Y. deserved my laughter and my tears… as well as the crazy amount of awards that it has received.

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