Director: Xavier Dolan
Cast: Gabriel D'Almeida Freitas, Xavier Dolan
Country: Canada 2019
Running time: 119 mins
Matthias & Maxime is a hilarious but poignant take on two childhood friends facing their submerged feelings for each other. They meet for a weekend with friends just as Maxime (Xavier Dolan) is about to leave for Australia. This is a contemporary departure from the traditional coming-out saga despite Matthias’s reluctance (Gabriel D’Almeida Freitas) to accept his sexuality. In Matthias & Maxime, men mix whatever direction their sexuality takes. Maxime for starters, is comfortable in his skin (including his birthmark). Maxime’s biggest problem is his addict mother, played with brutal, unmotherly love by Anne Dorval.
The mother aside, the female characters are less rounded although delivered with skill - the vain, idiotic teenage sister and shrieking, middle-aged women. The compensation is great studies in young guys with Xavier Dolan as Maxime stealing the screen. What’s most striking is the group of friends who have been hanging out together since childhood. The blokey banter - Quebec style - mixes an entertaining dose of homophobic nonsense with friendly tackles, plus the occasional punch-up prerequisite to male bonding. This is, after all, a study in male friendship and love with plenty of humour.
(First Reviewed, London Film Festival October 2019)