C.R.A.Z.Y (2005)

The Christmas Countdown (Day 2)

C.R.A.Z.Y. is available to rent or buy now on selected platforms.

If you have never heard of Jean-Marc Vallée’s outstanding French/Canadian comedy/drama C.R.A.Z.Y., then I forgive you. After all, besides a highly successful film festival run in 2005, C.R.A.Z.Y. sadly never made it out of the gates here in the U.K. and has since all but disappeared into film history. But, despite its lack of attention, this coming-of-age gem deserves your time this Christmas. After all, C.R.A.Z.Y. is not only full of superb performances and a killer soundtrack; it’s a beautiful, engaging and sweeping tale of family life. Its themes of sexuality, adolescent discovery and acceptance dovetailed with a broader discussion on religion, self-identity and belonging as we walk alongside the Beaulieu family from the 1960s through to the 1980s.

Born into the world on December 25th 1960, Zac Beaulieu (Marc-Andre Grondin) is the fourth son of Gervais and Laurianne. However, right from birth, Zac never quite fits into the world around him. As he grows into a young boy, this difference becomes more pronounced, with his mother convinced he has a God-given ability to heal others. While at the same time, his father worries about his love of prams and dolls.


But as Zac fights for his father’s attention among a family of five boys, it’s his older brother Raymond who proves to be his biggest rival. Here Zac and Raymond’s relationship is born from an antagonistic and aggressive need to secure their father’s love. But as Raymond pushes the boundaries at every opportunity, Zac silently questions his sexual orientation, immersing himself in the music of BowieThe Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd.

As Zac moves from teenager to young man, he continues to hide his sexuality from the family while his older brother goes off the rails. And as the 1980s dawn, the family unit will find itself tested like never before as long-held secrets finally bubble to the surface. Jean-Marc Vallée takes us on a sweeping journey through two decades alongside the Beaulieu’s, embracing the fact that coming out can be a long, painful and challenging process. While at the same time exploring deep themes of fatherly love, brotherly conflict and acceptance. 


Marc-Andre Grondin’s outstanding central performance as Zac is only strengthened by the superb supporting cast around him. But it’s Vallée and François Boulay’s screenplay that truly shines, as it sizzles with humour, emotion and authenticity. Equally, it’s here where C.R.A.Z.Y. becomes something unique and compelling in the crowded landscape of LGBTQ+ coming-of-age movies.

While C.R.A.Z.Y may hold all the classic elements of the coming-of-age comedy/drama, it is also a deep, humorous and loving exploration of family life, warts and all. Grondin bathes Zac’s journey in the positive and negative love a family unit can wield. While at the same time exploring sibling rivalry and the powerful need to break free of family traditions during our adolescence, only to return to them as adults. As we journey through the decades each character jumps from the screen and into our hearts as one Christmas leads to the next. The Beaulieu family story, wrapped in the same fears, hopes and laughter that many of us have experienced as our families, relationships and confidence grow and change with time.