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CRAZY

Starring: Michel Cote, Marc-Andre Grondin, Danielle Proulx and Pierre-Luc Brillant
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Rated: MA15+

CRAZY was very popular in French Canada, and has mixed appeal for other audiences.

While most of it is presented as a realistic comedy drama, there are touches of “magic realism” about it.

It begins on Christmas Day in 1960, and the birth of our hero, Zac, whose eccentric story we follow.

He is a “different” child – a faith healer confirms that he has powers of healing (with relatives continually ringing during family meals to ask for his help).

His mother is devoted to him. His father wants a tough macho son, more like his older brothers – one of whom is a lout and will grow up with drug problems and violence towards his wife, the other a non-descript footballer.

A younger brother is eventually born who distinguishes himself by being fat.

This is something of a crazy family.

It emerges that Zac has some sexual problems which, in the 1960s and 1970s, were not talked about.

This causes some anguish, especially as he is expected to have a girlfriend, and one of his neighbours is willing and she tries.

However, it eventually emerges that Zac is homosexual, but it takes a long time for him and his family to come to terms with it.

Zac is immersed in the pop culture and styles of his time which alienates him from his father (whose main delight is a record of Patsy Cline singing Crazy).

The best aspects of the film are those which show the details of oddball family life, the brothers and their ups and downs (especially the older brother with drug problems, jail sentences, money borrowing).

Allowing for the heightened mood and the touch of caricature of family, Church and school, the film reminds audiences of what attitudes were like back then, why they changed and how they changed.

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