In our new “Get INTO” series, we rummage through Netflix each week to find the very best movies that LGBTQ cinema has to offer. However you identify, these tales of love, sex and the everyday experience of queer life all deserve a special place in your Netflix queue. Also, some of these films are super hot, so whether you’re alone or with a special “friend,” rev up everyone’s favorite streaming service and get ready to chill with some of the best queer movies on Netflix.
What is It’s Only The End Of The World? French-Canadian filmmaker and Adele aficionado Xavier Dolan divided critics with his sixth movie, It’s Only the End of the World (Juste la fin du monde), but that didn’t stop him from winning the Grand Prix at Cannes 2016.
Adapted from a stage play written by Jean-Luc Lagarce, the film follows a gay playwright who returns home after a 12-year absence to tell his family that he’s dying. Along the way, old wounds are reopened, secrets tick away like hidden time bombs and Blink 182 are somehow made relevant once again.
Who’s in it? Selected to play against type, Dolan’s star-studded cast combines the very best of modern French cinema, utilizing the talents of seasoned performers such as Nathalie Baye and Vincent Cassel alongside Hollywood favorites like Marion Cotillard and Léa Seydoux.
Tying each of these family members together in the reunion from hell is Gaspard Ulliel, a French actor and model who’s best known for portraying a young Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal Rising and the fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent in Saint Laurent. Oh, and he’s also the perfectly sculpted face that’s used to promote the fragrance Bleu de Chanel.
What does Rotten Tomatoes say? “It’s Only the End of the World is stocked with talent and boasts a story steeped in conflict, but the end result proves a disappointing misfire from writer-director Xavier Dolan.”
What do we say? Families have always been a cause for strife throughout Dolan’s filmography, but none are quite as insufferable as the one depicted here. Through claustrophobic close-ups and arguments that blow up at a moment’s notice, the film taps into more familial tension here than a thousand Thanksgivings. Brief respite can be found in the beautifully stylised flashbacks which play to Dolan’s strengths, but the euphoria of these moments is soon subsumed by the present day nightmare that Luis is forced to endure.
So it’s tough to watch? “Turgid,” “screeching,” and “nigh-well intolerable” are just a few of the words that critics have used to describe It’s Only the End of the World and none of them are exactly what you’d call inaccurate. At times, Dolan moves the camera so close to each actor’s face that you feel like they’re screaming directly at you and because of this, it’s easy to see why some people have had a hard time getting into his most polarising effort yet.
But is it actually any good? Among the venomous exchanges and lengthy arguments, there’s also a newfound maturity that Dolan taps into here, building tension through uncharacteristic restraint. Ulliel’s performance grounds the story in both these quieter moments and during the explosive climax, struggling to open up to his family in ways that parallel the universal queer experience of coming out. It’s Only the End of the World might be an exhausting watch in some ways, but it’s also a cathartic one. Check it out before the end of the world comes for real.
It’s Only The End Of The World is available to stream on Netflix now.