It would have been a lovely family dinner. If it weren’t the last.
After 12 years away, a 34-year-old gay playwright (Gaspard Ulliel) returns home in the midst of an oppressive heatwave to tell his estranged family that he is dying in It’s Only the End of the World. As he steels himself to break the news to his giddy mother (Natalie Baye), gauche younger sister Suzanne (Léa Seydoux), prickly, resentful elder brother Antoine (Vincent Cassel), and Antoine’s flustered wife (Marion Cotillard), his presence reawakens old hurts and grudges.
Although never stated, the spectre of Aids hangs over this drama by French-Canadian prodigy Xavier Dolan (six films by the age of 27). He gets intense performances from his A-list cast of French stars, but the claustrophobic hothouse atmosphere they conjure up cannot disguise the film’s overt staginess (it’s based on a 1990 play by Jean-Luc Lagarce) or its datedness.
Certificate 15. Runtime 99 mins. Director Xavier Dolan
It’s Only the End of the World debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on Wednesday 20 September.