Just A Question of Love (Juste une Quťstion díAmour)
I canít believe it. Iíve just found a film that knocks Burnt Money off my No1 favourite film slot! This film actually is perfect. I canít fault it. Itís utterly romantic; full of delicious angst; wonderfully acted and scripted and has a total naturalness that makes you feel youíre listening to a story from one of your own family. This must be the best coming out film ever made. Itís an intelligent film, and thatís pretty rare these days.
Laurent (the gorgeous Cyrille Thouvenin) is living a lie. Heís gay, but heís unable to tell his solid, middle-class respectable parents. The previous year, his cousin, Marc, came out to his parents, and he was thrown out of the house and died a few months later without having seen them again. Laurent, only two years younger than Marc, and close to him as a brother, is haunted by this, paranoid that his parents will treat him the same if they find out.† Studying at a local agriculture college, his grades start to slip and he becomes angry and bored with everything. Until he meets Cedric. Cedric, a researcher, is appointed to supervise Laurentís diploma, and brings him work in his labówhich attaches to his house and the market garden he owns with his mother, Emma.
Cedric is out and Emma is comfortable with his sexuality. Neither of them can understand Laurentís feelings about it. Gradually, what started as a fling becomes more serious and Laurentís refusal to live openly threatens everything they have together.
Every single character in this film is wonderful portrayed with total honesty. I hated what Laurentís parents did, but I couldnít hate them. Emma is an amazingly strong character: a ďwoman of a certain ageĒ for whom I felt enormous sympathy. Even the setting is quite lovely in the garden that Cedric and Laurent care for. There are no gay bars; no drugs; no leather or bears. Thereís just people living ordinary, good lives.
And best of all this are Cedric and Laurent. I defy you to watch this film and not believe that these two men are deeply in love. And itís so much more than that. They work together; they play together and itís so natural and sexy and lovely to watch. Itís the most positive depiction of a gay relationship Iíve seen in any movie.
The level of angst this film builds up is due to this lovely relationship. Youíll be desperate for it all to work out, but everything seems conspiring against it.
So, this is now my number one recommendation for a great movie.
Laurent is the perfect son.† At agricultural college studying to be a gardener, he has a beautiful vivacious girlfriend, Carole.† His parents are already planning the wedding, and eager for grandchildren.† But itís all a lie.† For Laurent is gay.† Everyone knows except his family.† And heís too afraid to tell them in case heís rejected, thrown out like his cousin Marc, whose parents disowned him when they discovered what he was.†
Carole is like a sister, and itís a boyfriend Laurent wants.† Heís never been in love.† Laurent was devastated by Marcís death so his grades suffered and heís about to fail his course.†† When his college finds a work experience placement for him at a garden centre Laurent meets Cťdric, the man of his dreams.†
Cťdric is older than Laurent, and he is out.† Laurent canít believe Cťdricís mother Emma is okay with having a gay son.† All the adults he knows find homosexuality disgusting and unacceptable.† He isnít ashamed to be gay but tries to protect his parents from getting hurt, like his uncle and aunt††
But Cťdric isnít prepared to return to the closet, and gives Laurent an ultimatum.† Unfortunately events get out of hand and Laurentís secret is revealed without him knowing.† Lots of angst and heartache follow before the end in this wonderful romantic film that perfectly captures the realities of gay life and love.†
Why are the French so good at this?† Why canít we get English language movies with believable plots and characters, and more to the point, actors willing to show gay relationships as about obvious intimacy as well as sex?†
This film has everything.† The actors playing Laurent & Cťdric are simply divine, attractive and sexy and totally believable as passionate lovers struggling to make a relationship work in the face of tremendous pressures.† Like Laurentís fear of the consequences of admitting their love to his family.† Theyíre not perfect. Cťdric canít understand Laurentís fears and puts too much pressure on him too soon.† Laurent doesnít see Carole loves him and his selfishness, though understandable, means she gets hurt.
Romance and coming out are topics frequently covered, yet this film manages to make the familiar fresh and exciting, largely due to a well constructed script and performances so totally natural youíd swear the actors were real life lovers.† Complications of dealing with the fallout of coming out deepen the love story, with Laurentís traumatic experience of cousin Marcís unsympathetic and judgmental family.†
Cťdricís mother is a wonderful character, someone who has accepted her son unconditionally as he is, not how she wanted him to be, because the alternative is to lose him altogether.† Thereís a beautiful scene, morning after the first-time night before, when Emma stumbles into Cťdricís room, and Laurent canít believe how calm he is to be discovered in bed with a male lover.†
Attitudes can be changed if fear and prejudice are replaced with knowledge and understanding.† More than ever itís vital that films like this are made and distributed.† Iíve been reading today about a boy in America sent forcibly for counselling to Ďtreatí his gay sexuality.† Thatís child abuse not tough or any other kind of love.† Marc in the film was an adult but parental rejection hurts no matter how old you are.† Laurent loves his parents and canít contemplate losing them, but heís scared to talk honestly.
Gay writers for young adults, like Brent Hartinger, find it harder and harder to get their books into schools or go talk to kids about their writing, never mind gay issues.† The fundamentalists decide whatís right & wrong and the rest of us either donít care or are too complacent to see whatís going on and stand up and be counted.† Pretty soon maybe films like this wonít even be made.† Iíve had problems with an online auction site selling DVDs that supposedly contravene adult materials policies because the cover shows naked men in sexual situations even though the films are not pornographic just stories about gay love- eg. GRANDE ECOLE and LEAVING METROPOLIS.†
As one character says in this film, ĎItís not a question of gay or straight.† Itís just a question of love.í †Parents have a duty of care for their children and society too must embrace diversity, including sexual preference.† One of my favourites out of all the films reviewed here.