Not the usual coming-of-age tale

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Not the usual coming-of-age tale

“C.R.A.Z.Y.” is simply defined through three keywords: gay, coming-of-age and family.

You may think you’ve heard this story before, but it’s neither a cliche nor the highbrow bore you’d expect.

Written and directed by Canadian Jean-Marc Vallee, C.R.A.Z.Y. vividly describes a family drama which could well happen in real life.

In addition to the plausible story, viewers will also enjoy the soundtrack, as the director has artfully inserted famous hits from David Bowie, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones.

This Christian family in Quebec consists of a macho father, a devout mother and five sons: Christian, Raymond, Antoine, Zachary and Yvan. Zachary (Marc-Andre Grondin) is the fourth son and the story’s main character.

The story begins with Zachary’s birth on Christmas Day in 1960. As he shares the same birthday as Jesus, everyone believes he is gifted with the power to heal.

But Zachary himself hates Christmas, because he never gets what he wants and because it outshines his own birthday.

His mother (Danielle Proulx) believes Zachary has the gift after she sees him calm his baby brother when nobody else can. She encourages his sensitive side.

His father (Michel Cote), by contrast, is desperate to ensure that Zachary’s not gay, overlooking the fact that another of his sons, Raymond (Pierre-Luc Brillant), is a violent drug addict and womanizer.

Under pressure from his father, Zachary conforms, even moving in with his girlfriend after graduating from high school.

After a while, though, he learns to let his true self emerge.

Zachary is certainly different from the rest of his brothers. When he was young, he wanted a baby carriage, loved playing with his baby brother and dressed up in his mother’s red gown.

His older brothers and father can’t accept his effeminate behavior. But he looks just like any adolescent boy in the ’70s, in the mold of the era’s rock stars.

The story challenges us to ask, so what if he’s gay?

As he’s grown up, his identity has been shaped by his family, just as we are the products of interactions with our families.

But rather than focusing on a gay protagonist suffering discrimination, this is a gentle, humorous tale about a boy growing up different from the rest of his family.

So it doesn’t just speak to gay people, but to anyone who’s ever felt out of place. Viewers can instantly relate to the protagonist.

Compared to other films dealing with homosexuality, C.R.A.Z.Y. does not allow people to dismiss gays as a sexual minority with no relevance to their own lives.


By Choi Jung-in Contributing Writer [estyle@joongang.co.kr]


By Choi Jung-in Contributing Writer
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