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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, November 06, 2015

Movie Review - Tom at the Farm

Tom at the Farm (Tom à la ferme) (2015)
Starring Xavier Dolan, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Lise Roy, and Evelyne Brochu
Directed by Xavier Dolan
***This film currently streaming on Amazon Prime***

When Tom (Xavier Dolan) arrives at the Canadian farmhouse of his deceased lover Guillaume, he is greeted by a mother (Lise Roy) who has no idea that her dead son was gay.  Confused, Tom then meets his lover's brother Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal) who through aggression and force manipulates Tom into crafting a story about his brother's heterosexual tendencies.  Tom agrees to keep his true relationship with Guillaume a secret, but soon finds himself in a twisted battle with Francis whose savage demeanor may be hiding his own secrets.

Tom at the Farm is an odd duck of a film that plays at times like a thriller, at times like a drama, and at times like a twisted romance.  Just when you think director-cowriter-leading actor Xavier Dolan is taking it down one side of that triangle, he veers to another angle or reins things in just enough that it feels a bit like a tease...in a good way.  The film feels soap operatic and overly dramatic at times, but the tone works for the most part.

The problem with the film lies in the character of Tom himself.  Attempts are made to showcase that Francis is forcibly keeping Tom on the farm, but there was never any moment during the movie where I felt that Tom couldn't have just walked down the road and left.  While I understand that Dolan was trying to show that Francis wielded some masculine control over Tom which, having just lost his lover, he may have found intriguing, but attempting to build tension from a story aspect that to me is easily solvable by a character simply walking out of a door doesn't quite work.  I won't even discuss the heavily anti-American tone to the film which becomes horribly blatant in the film's climactic moments and then is hammered home by a rather horrid song by Rufus Wainwright that runs over the end credits.

These qualms aside, though, Tom at the Farm is interesting.  I'm not sure I'll be rushing to see another Xavier Dolan film, but this one proved unique enough to maintain my interest throughout.

The RyMickey Rating:  C+

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