Matthias and Maxime: A portrait of male love and friendship

CINERAMA FILM ONLINE

Matthias and Maxime is now available to rent, buy or stream.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Friendships change over time, especially those born in childhood and adolescence; sometimes, these early friendships hide feelings of love and some hide insecurities and jealousy. Within this discussion, Xavier Dolan’s latest movie explores themes of friendship, masculinity, love, and repression. But, Dolan’s tenth film also sees him return to the role of leading actor and director for the first time since his 2013 film Tom at the Farm.

On a weekend away with friends, Matthias (Gabriel D’Almeida Fritas) and Maxime (Xavier Dolan) lose a bet during a night of drinking, smoking and discussion. As a result, both friends find themselves taking part in a film where they are asked to kiss one another. However, this is not the first time they have kissed, and while Maxime remembers the kiss well, Matthias has pushed any memory firmly to the sidelines. But what starts as a simple on-screen kiss ends in the reawakening of long-suppressed desires and unrequited love.


READ MORE: ARE WE LOST FOREVER


In exploring the repressed emotions and desires of Matthias and Maxime, Dolan opts for a nuanced exploration of the male love born from teenage friendship, with both men caught in a trap due to the masculine stereotypes surrounding them. Here a single kiss awakens a world of longing as both men slowly separate, their lives on different trajectories. This creates a “will they, won’t they” dynamic as the barriers of masculinity begin to crumble.

One could argue that Matthias and Maxime is, at its heart, a classic coming of age story rooted in the transition from our indulgent and energetic twenties to our more considered thirties. However, for me, Matthias and Maxime is at its strongest when exploring male love, friendship and companionship against a backdrop of fear. Here Dolan’s script is fast, energetic and engaging, with performances full of depth and honesty. The result offers a fascinating portrait of love, hidden desire, and friendship that understands the complex male experience and the masculine barriers that are encouraged and developed during childhood and youth.


Director: Xavier Dolan

Cast: Gabriel D’Almeida Fritas, Xavier Dolan, Pier-Luc Funk, Samuel Gauthier, Antoine Pilon, Harris Dickinson

Canada (2019)