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C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005)

by on 2011/07/10

“God, please don’t let me be soft.”

* * * * *

Early on in C.R.A.Z.Y., a newborn child is hurt. Fully expecting he’d be our hero, I thought to myself, “Oh boy.” Was the movie to be an Owl Creek Bridge en Francais? A Quebecois Sixth Sense? Laisse-Moi Entrer?

None of them at all. Certainly, it’s possessed of a sense of faith, even magic, but lurking at the edges, subtle, projected, a way to explain the unknown.

That child is Zac Beaulieu (played in his later years by Marc-Andre Grondin) born at Christmas in 1960 to a suburban, middle class family. Discounting miscarriages which would have made him their seventh, the Beaulieus — father Gervais (Michel Cote) and mother Laurianne (Danielle Proulx) — have three older sons: a brain, a criminal, and an athlete, to paraphrase The Breakfast Club.

Zac is decidedly different, to the growing chagrin of the others. He has stereotypically feminine interests, is intense and sensitive, and might possess a gift to heal the sick. He’s quickly labeled the family’s shameful “fairy”. He’s raised to despise himself, his differences and desires, desperately seeking his father’s unlikely acceptance.

In his teenaged years, he explores various interests — girls, drugs, and karate — but is drawn into a music-centric life. He has lucid daydreams and can only escape his confinement with the sound of Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and the Cure. The strongest through-line follows the quest for a rare Patsy Cline record.

In fact, other than the language and a handful of Canadiana — glimpses of money, politicians, and stubbies — there is little to suggest it is CanCon at all. This piece transcends any oft-unfair cliches to become a universal search for acceptance.

It’s an unconventional epic, but an epic nonetheless, the portrait of an outsider in the pre-It-Gets-Better days. Everybody’s Fine remixed by The Buddha of Suburbia, I have little else to say about it all. To make any significant criticisms would be impossible, and to praise it appropriately, nearly so.

The “atheist at mass” scene had me giggling aloud. In the end I was weeping unselfconsciously. I want to write Hallmark slogans about my reactions, pull-quotes to communicate my affection. To do so, however, would be inappropriate and disrespectful both, to the intent and to the artistry alike.

Allow me then to end with an intro.

I didn’t want to see this film at first. I disliked the title and cover. I dread long running times. And the disc was cursed with awful, unskippable ads.

But I never stopped, never paused, never checked the remaining time . . . common enough activities over a drowsy afternoon viewing.

Experiences like C.R.A.Z.Y. keep me watching and writing reviews. They keep me human, keep me sane and — against all odds — an idealist.

* * * * *

Rated 14A for adult situations, drug use, and language

129 minutes

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