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  • Matthias & Maxime ⋆⋆⋆⋆


Matthias & Maxime ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Xavier Dolan's much-delayed film is now out in cinemas, and it could well be his strongest since his celebrated debut, Mommy.

Image for Matthias & Maxime ⋆⋆⋆⋆

Matthias & Maxime – out now in cinemas. (Photo: Cinemien)

Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan is best known for depicting tempestuous relationships with a heavy penchant for high-wire melodrama, with varying results. His directorial breakthrough Mommy was a strong calling card, but his steady output has yielded some disappointments, especially 2016’s It’s Only The End Of The World and his 2018 English-language dud The Death & Life Of John F. Donovan.

His eighth feature film, Matthias & Maxime, sees the prolific director return to his native French language but also break from tradition, opting to dial down the histrionics for the story of two titular friends (played by Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas and Dolan), one of whom is preparing to leave Montreal for a new start in Australia. When the two share a kiss on the set of a student film they’ve both been roped into, feelings surface and the lines between friendship and love blur at an impending crossroads in their lives.

There’s still plenty of Dolan’s trademark rapid-fire dialogue, as well as the inclusion of a dominant mother figure and some killer needle drops. However, the way he tackles decades of ambiguous desire and unspoken feelings within a will-they-won’t-they drama feels more – and refreshingly –melancholic. Without resulting to grand declarations, the filmmaker succeeds in no small way in telling an intimate story of longing that feels both universal and beautifully tender. It just may be his strongest film yet.

Matthias & Maxime / Directed by: Xavier Dolan (Canada, 2019) with Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas, Xavier Dolan. Starts: July 29.