1981 – Movie Review

5 septembre, 2009

It may not be an original english version, but at least it’s an original french one.

1981 - Movie ReviewA lot of people underestimate the task of being a movie critic, thinking that we’re just here to watch a movie, think about an opinion and that’s it. The truth is it’s not really easy; you must stay unbiased before the movie comes out and when you finally watch it, you must note every aspect of the film, stay loyal to your standards, and elaborate on it when you write your review. It’s a pretty tough job when you have to see two films or more in one day and I’m honest when I tell you that a lot of my works have suffered from numerous problems – the Funny People review will never see the light of day. Yet sometimes, even with all the preparation we have, a movie can just strike into our heart like a bullet. Most of the times, they strike our childhood.

1981 is the autobiographic film by Ricardo Trogi, about this important year in his life, where he entered his new school after his parents moved to Quebec City. And while it might seem like a kids movie, it treats its subject very maturely and yet still has the great dialogues the director is known for. I might only have seen 3 other Quebec films from 2009 this year, but I stand corrected when I say this is one of the best.

Back in 1981, the life of Ricardo change drastically when he changed school, city, and friends. His family being part of the middleclass didn’t really help him on top of that, as every other children seemed richer, complete kiwis and maybe a Walkman. He also fell in love with Anne Tremblay, the best student in his class. In order to be accepted in his new environment, the little Ricardo decided to become a liar.

It might seem weird to start off a review like this, but the first aspect I wanna talk about is actually the casting because I think Jean-Carl Boucher as our main character is perfect. In fact, I love this guy: he was the very best part of Un été sans point ni coup sûr. Okay he might be part of that awful TV show in Vrak TV but in the end, he’s a great actor. He represents the childhood that some of us had over the years. Plus there is this picture at the end of the film where we see the real Ricardo Trogi and the resemblance is incredible, I mean it’s fucking exact! Sandrine Bisson, who’s playing his mother, is also very human and very honest in the way she plays. I also wanna note that the Nazi officer in this movie – because yes, there is a Nazi officer – is played by Patrice Bélanger, who played the Tattoo Killer in Bon Cop, Bad Cop in 2006.

The one putting all of this together is, of course, Ricardo Trogi; this director is known for the great dialogues of both Québec-Montréal and L’horloge biologique, his previous works. And throughout the entire film, we see how those events formed the way this guy think and makes those great moments of awkward truth. We also get a whole lot of honest internal monologue by the director himself, kinda like an audio commentary of his young years.

I just found out that I still haven’t talked about the story itself and the reason for that is it’s just life. It feels very real and on that plan I can just say it’s very good. I don’t want to spoil anything so instead I’m just going to tell why the actually film works so much. If you’re an adult, you’ll love this film because you’ve lived the Walkman, you’ve lived Distribution aux Consommateurs, you’ve lived all the material things. But if you are teenager, and that’s where it just blew my mind, you’ve lived all of the emotions stuff; the first love, the childish way to view sex, the cat that look exactly like my very cat and that goes missing for a complete month – you do not know how much I’ve freaked out during those scenes – all of that is approached very sincerely and that’s what made this an incredible experience.

I honestly hope 1981 is going to have a cult following because the film treats its audience in such a way it become your friend. It touches every aspect of our lives back in 6th grade, and the way Ricardo Trogi directs it makes this film an instant classic. You may not have been born 28 years earlier, but this is a must-see for every young adult, and every teenager. It might sound pretentious but this is John Hughes-quality stuff. I’m definitely waiting for the next instalment – chances are it will be called 1987 – and I’m keeping my ticket intact today. Even if it looks like it belongs to my sister.

P.-S.: I love Funny People.


(Vincent Émond)

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