C.R.A.Z.Y. is a French-Canadian film that follows Zac from his birth on December 25, 1960 to the early 1980s, tracing his evolution toward acceptance of his sexual identity. Born in a family of devout Catholics, he learns from an early age to hide and reject his difference. His life takes many unexpected turns, the sum of which ultimately allows him to accept and love himself. Eventually, this self-acceptance leads his conservative, homophobic father to love him for who he really is rather for who he–the father–wants him to be.

Here’s a clip of the film’s star, Marc-Andre Grondin, who plays Zac for most of the film, talking about the movie. It also features a few brief scenes from the film that give a sense of its plot, look, and feel.

This is an interesting, slightly bizarre, and worthwhile film. Marc-Andre Grondin is especially good in the leading role. He brings an everyman quality to the part of Zac without losing touch with what makes Zac an individual character. His portrayal of Zac as a teenager and young adult is sensitive and very well done. And he’s gorgeous! Several websites I glanced at describe Grondin as the Canadian Gael Garcia Bernal. I can see why. He immerses himself in this role. And, like Bernal, has an innate sexiness that adds complexity and realism to his character.

I also really like the film’s emphasis on historical detail. The wardrobe, set design, hairstyling, etc. all work together to create a realistic portrayal of the 1960s and 1970s. The makeup in the film is also amazing — Marc-Andre Grondin plays Zac from the age of 15 to 21; the use of makeup to make him younger and then older is very well done.

I should also say that his film is a little bizarre in at least one way: it includes a few fantasy sequences that are meant to show Zac’s internal yearnings but ultimately serve to disrupt the film’s flow. Most of these sequences also involve religious imagery, which makes sense since the film is very much interested in the ways in which religion in general and Catholicism in particular affects people’s (in)ability to accept themselves and their loved ones for who they are.

Overall, this is a very good film about one kid’s coming of age and struggle to come out. In contrast to other coming out films, this one feels more realistic and emotionally true, even when it departs from reality or takes a somewhat surprising excursion to Israel. I enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

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