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Movie Review: Heartbeats


Directed by Xavier Dolan

Reviewed by Lezly Herbert

Heartbeats low res.jpg

Francis (Xavier Dolan) and Marie (Monia Chokri) are close friends.  Francis is the quieter one – more discreet and a man of few but precise words.  He harbours a deep grief about the number of rejections he has accumulated but remains hopeful the right man will walk into his life.

Marie is more neurotic and narcissistic but she looks like Audrey Hepburn reborn and is an eternal romantic.  One day, they meet a blond Adonis called Nicolas (Niels Schneider).  His perfect features are totally exploited by the camera as he seductively smiles and tosses his angelic curls, and each of the two friends slides into deep obsessive fantasies around the same object of desire.  And the deeper they slide, the more their friendship begins to crack under the pressure of competing for the mysterious new kid on the block.


Xavier Dolan’s second film is a study of the fall into love. 

The film is really 105 minutes of foreplay, as it reveals a fundamentally simple intrigue that careers through a whole gamut of poetic craziness: passions unleashed, expectations, sorrow, humiliation and, finally, loneliness.  All the while, the director is playing with the lighting, the music, the inter-cut erotic imagery and the seductive slow motion to make everyone in the audience fall in love with Nicolas as well. 

Of course, where there is mystery, there is ambiguity.  Mixing flirtation with indifference, it is difficult to judge what his intentions are, other than to remind us that “the only truth is to love beyond reason”.


In the end, this brilliant 21 year old writer, director, actor makes his audience laugh at love, romance and nature of attraction. 

Voted as Best Film at the 2010 Sydney Film Festival, Heartbeats screens at UWA’s Somerville 27 Dec – 2 Jan and at ECU’s Joondalup Pines 3-9 Jan.

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