“It’s Only the End of the World”: The Dolan Charm is There but Verbose Family Drama Underdelivers

Xavier Dolan’s new film seemed like the event so far at Cannes judging by the longest press queue since the beginning of the festival, as well as the hustlers offering hugs in exchange for a screening invitation. Unfortunately, it seems destined to join the ample list of other highly anticipated big-name entries that didn’t quite live up to expectations (the Dardenne brothers’ “The Unknown Girl”, Alain Giraudie’s “Staying Vertical”, Pedro Almodóvar’ “Julieta”, among others). Is it the departure from Québec and shift to A-list French actors, the adaptation of an existing 1990s play rather than an original script, or the pressure to equal the resounding success of “Mommy”? While the direction has traces of the usual showy Dolan brio and crowd-pleasing aesthetic flashes, I’d posit he is underserved by the overly theatrical, verbose script and indoor setting, and seems to at times lose the reins of the jam-packed French A-listers,

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