Where to start to talk (good) about the highly anticipated miniseries The night Laurier Gaudreault woke up of the darling of Quebec cinema, Xavier Dolan?
There are so many elements to dissect in this abundant and baroque work by Club illico, offered this Thursday, as if the director, screenwriter and actor had integrated everything that feeds and inspires him: his favorite actors, the years 1990 , his taste for busy sets, his fascination with strong and painted female characters, his exploration of the middle class as well as his love of carefully chosen pop music.
These motley bits form a cohesive quilt of five hour-plus episodes – all of which I’ve seen – that haunt you after watching them. Think more about the scary world of tom at the farm than to that, more criad and cacophonous, of Just the end of the world🇧🇷
Xavier Dolan put everything into his luxury Quebec series, played in joual, shot in close-ups and carried by a formidable cast. Don’t expect a creepy David Fincher-esque thriller or a slew of revivals typical of a popular Netflix thriller, though. The night Laurier Gaudreault woke up hold the time. A little too much sometimes. The lens of the first episode, which will put off the most in a hurry, does not sell this family drama adapted from the play by Michel Marc Bouchard.
Stripped of scenes that take us away from the heart of the story, the episodes – of visual splendor – would have been more effective and more captivating in a shortened formula. Serge Boucher (Brittle🇧🇷 lights) perfectly masters this television genre rooted in secrecy, remorse and reparation. Xavier Dolan tells a similar story in Laurier Gaudreaultmore with less onion skins, let’s say.
His miniseries is based on a big punch, which theater lovers already know: but what happened during that night in October 1991, in Val-des-Chutes, so that two families still bear immense pain, 30 years and later?
We suspect the nature of the issue, without however knowing it with certainty. In 1991, 14-year-old teenager Mireille Larouche (Jasmine Lemée) suffers from insomnia and enjoys breaking into her neighbors’ homes, for the simple pleasure of snagging. The night Mireille sneaks into the bedroom of Laurier Gaudreault (Pier-Gabriel Lajoie), the best friend of her big brother Julien (Elijah Patrice), everything changes.
The series thus waltzes between 1991 and 2019 with magnificent transitions. In 2019, Mireille (champion with Julie Le Breton) returned to Val-des-Chutes after a 25-year exile. Having become a renowned thanatologist, Mireille received a mission that was both bizarre and delicate, that of embalming her own mother Mado (impeccable Anne Dorval), who received a disturbing call before dying.
Obviously, Mireille’s return to town brings painful memories of the Larouche family’s opaque past to the surface. Big brother Julien (Patrick Hivon) still hates his sister, little brother Elliot (Xavier Dolan) is fresh out of rehab and brave Denis (Éric Bruneau), the nicest of the four, is still trying to figure out why everyone hates each other. so, Lord.
They are not super friendly, the Larouches, who smoke like chimneys. We are talking here about crazy people, multipoqués, who have problems of drug addiction, alcoholism or unhealthy sexuality. Fortunately, sister-in-law Chantal (excellent Magalie Lépine-Blondeau), Julien’s spouse, arrives to lighten the mood. His character is 100% Dolanian, with his long colored fingernails, his Android phone, his regional outspokenness and his love of melting brie with cranberries (to be eaten with a good glass of Malbec). She is perfect, Chantal.
Xavier Dolan’s attention to detail is everywhere, everywhere in Laurier Gaudreault🇧🇷 We see a floral tapestry, Denis’ pharmacy glasses, an aestheticized brothel or a compulsive hoarder’s apartment and we know that Xavier Dolan left his mark on it. By ear, you can also hear the sound described by Dolan when a rest waitress says: “Check her out, she’s fresh, a real whore, a whore from Montreal. ” I like.
The fourth episode, where it blows up everywhere, contains an epic confrontation scene between Julie Le Breton and Patrick Hivon who remain in the annals. Both actors are brilliant. Truly, there’s acting talent per square inch in The night Laurier Gaudreault woke up🇧🇷 Even the smallest roles (Julianne Côté, Guylaine Tremblay, Sylvie Drapeau) manage to stand out.
The soundtrack oscillates between Monique Leyrac, Jean Leloup, Coldplay, France D’Amour, Sum 41, Gabrielle Destroismaisons and, yes, Celine Dion. And it works very well. In the third episode, the karaoke sequence where Chantal (Magalie Lépine-Blondeau) represents Look at me in a rock bar is awesome. With me euphoria🇧🇷 The night Laurier Gaudreault woke up ventures into male frontal nudity, notably in the second episode which shows, in blur, an erect penis.
There are extraordinary moments in Laurier Gaudreault, but also something soft and superfluous, like the fictional terrors that the characters experience. Nothing but a scissoring in the scenario, as well as another blow on the accelerator, would not have settled.