REVIEW: Heartbeats

18 01 2015

HeartbeatsXavier Dolan’s “Heartbeats” amounts to little more than a schoolyard game between the straight female Marie (Monia Chokri) and gay male Francis (Dolan) for the affections of a sexually ambiguous Adonis, the flirtatious and friendly Nicolas (Niels Schneider).  Holding him up as a physical ideal, they objectify Nicolas as a prize to win.  And since Dolan casts himself, determining where his sympathy lies hardly proves daunting.

But the story is hardly the story of “Heartbeats.”  The precocious Dolan loves playing with speed, motion, and movement; on the latter front, he could rival the widely recognized master, David Fincher.  At times, the style threatens to overwhelm the film by virtue of its sheer virtuosity.  Fincher once said, “They know you can do anything, so the question is what don’t you do.”  Dolan, somewhat problematically, does everything he can do, and the movie comes off a bit like a highlight reel.

Still, “Heartbeats” tingles with the sexual energy of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Y Tu Mamá También,” mostly because of its powerful visual language. Dolan, impressively, manages to leave it unconsummated.  Possibilities and suggestions float through the air, yet they mostly just linger there.  Though Dolan goes all out with his bold technique, the beating heart of the film is anchored in this very authentic representation of love and desire.  Such a portrayal makes the film both watchable and enjoyable, even after the seemingly endless parade of mini-music videos.  B2halfstars