The protagonists in Les amours imaginaries do get what’s coming to them, albeit in an unsatisfying way. Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother) presents a claustrophobic world that never looks up from café tables or beyond the boundaries of apartments (a weekend in the country that’s vaguely reminiscent of Withnail & I ends prematurely in disaster).
The apartments serve mainly as the backdrops for parties or sex, very unsatisfying sex, accompanied by tired conversations about sex and why the sex was unsatisfying. Hope for best friends Francis (Dolan) and Marie (Chokri) seems to arise from the young Nicolas (Schneider), a curly-haired cross between mommy’s little angel and a statue of a Greek god. Both fall in love with him, endangering their friendship.
But Nicolas is a pampered little shit who lives on his parents’ money and likes to play with other people’s feelings, which makes him impossible to care for. When he’s done his damage, he has no better answers than “how could you ever have thought I’m gay?” (to Francis) and “I really have to go now” (to Marie). His utter unworthiness is so obvious that it’s hard to care for Francis and Marie, who should really know better than to waste their feelings on him.
Although Les amours imaginaires has some amusing moments, as are bound to happen with a love triangle in which no one wants to tip their hand early, it gets bogged down in too many slow-motion scenes of people dressing before they go on a date. As music videos for some great songs – especially Dalida’s version of Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang Bang” – they would be great, but in a film, they soon get tiring
Les amours imaginaries | Directed by Xavier Dolan (Canada 2010) with Monia Chokri, Niels Schineider, Xavier Dolan. Opens July 7