Tom à la ferme/Tom at the Farm
Director: Xavier Dolan
Starring: Xavier Dolan; Pierre-Yves Cardinel; Lise Roy; Evelyne Brochu.
Plot: A grieving man meets his lover’s family, who were not aware of their son’s sexual orientation.
Xavier Dolan’s Tom at the Farm (2013) was, in my opinion, a throwback to a different type of filmmaking that much of the American film industry (in particular) has been missing for a long time, and there is no bigger compliment I can pay than that. It was immensely entertaining and particularly suspenseful, making for a hugely enjoyable film experience that not only satisfied the film scholar and critic within me, but the movie lover too.
The fact is that this movie filled with intense passion and rage, beautifully articulate photography and truly wonderful acting, is evidence that Dolan could be one of the most promising filmmakers for a generation. His authorship over the sophisticated piece is wonderful, not least for a 25 year old with over half a century left to improve on his current visions should luck be on his side.
Presented mostly in the French language, an obvious comparison to make would be to the work of Michael Haneke as both men seem to approach their thoughts on humanity in similar ways through their writing, and ultimately present the fear and dread of their suspense through lack of noise rather than the intense scores we’ve become accustomed to in American cinema. This mix of styles and techniques, and the particularly positive comparison, are representative of the levels of sophistication in this young filmmaker’s storytelling and are indicators of why Tom at the Farm manages to deliver a tense picture while developing multi-dimensional characters and a real reason to invest in its key protagonist, Tom (Dolan).
The only suggestion I can make with regard to this film is that you watch it. Sure, it may not be your passive viewing experience for a lazy Sunday afternoon, but if you’re a bit of a film buff, have a thing for French cinema, or simply want to escape into the trials of a life other than your own for a few hours, I strongly suggest you watch this movie; it was excellent.