the summer of '68, Leon Dore comes close to hanging himself
accidentally. His mother saves him at the last minute just
like last summer in the pool and like two years ago in the
freezer. At ten, Leon has lots of problems and an overly fertile
imgination. There is Mom and Dad who are always fighting and
those annoying neighbours who get to spend the summer at the
beach. And then, there's Lea, the exasperating girl who's
always right about everything. When Mom decides to leave everything
behind to start a new life in Greece, Leon is prepared to
do anything to kill the pain- destroy the neighbours' house,
become a professional liar and even, why not, fall in love
with Lea. Together, they will overcome the pain of growing
up when you feel abandoned.
When was the last time you loved a badly
behaved kid to bits in a movie? These ill disciplined brats,
if handled in real life, can be a health hazard. But there
is something really adorable about them when you watch them
carry out their hellish acts on screen. Wait, was the last
impishly mischievous kid you loved… Macaulay Culkin?
That kid who was left Home Alone (who can forget the scene
when he slaps aftershave on his cheeks and screams) and squared
off with crooks played by Daniel Stern and Joe Pesci?
It’s time you fell in love with Antoine
L’Ecuyer, the latest brat who creates hell for everyone,
including himself. And we guarantee that he will break your
L’Ecuyer plays Leon, a problematic
10 year old boy with an overly wonderful imagination. Like
any other kid with lots of problems, there is the always fighting
mother and father, the irritating neighbours who get the luxury
of spending the summer at the beach, and a girl companion
who always seems to be right about everything. When Leon’s
mother decides to leave the family for Greece, all hell gets
let loose. Leon tries everything under the sun to forget the
pain, including destroying the neighbour’s house, become
a straight faced liar and fall in love with the girl who so
often drives him mad. Where will this process called growing
up lead to?
You have to hand it to these foreign filmmakers
(read: not Hollywood) to be able to make good films like this.
Based on Bruno Hebert’s book, Phillppe Falardeau writes
the screenplay and directs a cast of capable actors in this
105 minute feature. The Canadian filmmaker manages to make
you feel Leon’s pain of growing up, and wanting to overcome
the frustrating heartache with him. It does so without a tinge
of indulgent self pity, mainly because of the very funny situation
setups Leon goes through. So what if you feel abandoned? You
have someone to prevail over it with you.
coming of age film also works because of L’Ecuyer’s
rascally wicked persona. You very well know what Leon does
shouldn’t be tolerated (the disturbed boy even tries
to kill himself on several occasions), but you also empathize
with his circumstance to go along for the ride full of childhood
whimsy. The flight of his imagination is one you wished you
had, but you can only reflect what you had many years ago,
look at where you are now, and feel the quiet heartbreak within.
do not have any complaints about visual transfer of the movie.
It is presented in its original French audio soundtrack, with
Dolby Digital 5.1 or 2.0 options.
Review by John Li
Posted on 24 May 2010