Xavier Dolan certainly isn't lacking in confidence. Fortunately, he has the talent to match it. The young director's third feature, Laurence Anyways, is his most ambitious effort yet; a 160-minute romp through the 1990s and the life of a cross-dressing teacher (Poupaud) and his lover (Clément).
Given the number of critics (this one included) who accused Dolan's Heartbeats of being style over substance, a decade-spanning melodrama may sound like a recipe for disaster, but Dolan has pulled it off with astounding aplomb. The style is still here, and Dolan can't resist any opportunity to watch his characters walking in slow-motion to some uncannily appropriate soundtrack choice, but Laurence Anyways is really driven by the raw emotions that are so powerfully expressed by the superb leads.
Many will argue that Dolan still displays his immaturity on occasion and will accuse him of self-indulgence, but plenty of viewers will fall in love. This is spectacular, passionate filmmaking from a director who's growing up fast.