Genre: Drama, Romance
WARNING: May Contain Spoilers!
At first glimpse, I wasn’t really sure what Heartbeats was all about. Reading the synopsis left me a little intrigued. The movie is subtitled (because it’s filmed in a part of Canada where people speak French) and I tend to pay a lot more attention to subtitled movies in ways I normally wouldn’t if the film was in English. Things like gestures the characters make, their facial expressions, the way their bodies move - these things all become more important than words.
And that’s a good thing because Heartbeats is a little slow to get started. The first 20 minutes is really kinda boring but once you come to grips with what is going on between the two main characters (Marie and Francis), things start to get interesting.
Francis (played by Xavier Dolan who also directed the movie) is gay and Marie is his best friend. They meet and instantly fall head-over-heels in love with ridiculously good looking Nicolas (played by Niels Schneider). The issue is that “Nico” doesn’t seem particularly interested in anyone or anything but himself. He’s pretty self-absorped; the type of guy that knows his good looks are the key to getting whatever (and whomever) he wants.
He doesn’t come off as fake though, or painfully transparent. He’s a little like a wild child that’s just lost in the wonder of the world and Francis and Marie just happened to stumble upon him - unfortunately.
As we observe the changes occuring in both Francis and Marie (the way they dress, the way they act, the way they greet each other) - all of which is a direct result of their obsessive lust for Nicolas, Heartbeats finally comes alive with a rhythm that’s unmistakably unique.
As they fall deeper and deeper into love/lust with Nicolas, their frustrations take hold and the inevitable happens. They end up wrestling each other on the ground like two little kids fighting over a shiny new toy. After witnessing this, Nicolas pulls out the “cold shoulder” card - removing himself from the couple and getting as far away as possible.
I pondered this for a while, thinking that perhaps Nicolas was, in his own way, completely unaware of their feelings for him, and was genuinely shocked and even perhaps hurt that they could treat each other so badly.
But then I started to think that perhaps Nicolas’ instinct for survival kicked in. Perhaps Nicolas understood that the fun and games with Francis and Marie had come to an end. With their feelings now blatantly exposed, Nicolas would no longer be in control of the situation and it was time to get the hell out.
Heartbeats was also a little more difficult to get into because it seemed to be part movie and part doco with interview segments interrupting the normal flow of the movie. Each interview seemed to highlight an individual’s personal experiences with love, mirroring much of what Francis and Marie seemed to be experiencing with Nicolas.
If nothing else, Heartbeats did get me thinking about my own experiences with love, and how awfully painful and frustrating love can sometimes be when you really examine it.
I enjoyed Heartbeats. It was refreshing, it was different and it was quite raw in its presentation and delivery.
PCR Rating: 6.5/10