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Time to Leave

UNRATED CC
4.3 out of 5 stars (49) IMDb 7.1/10

A handsome, successful fashion photographer hides his terminal cancer diagnosis from his family and boyfriend, but reveals his secret to his grandmother during a short stay with her.

Starring:
Melvil Poupaud, Jeanne Moreau
Runtime:
1 hour, 17 minutes

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By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 30, 2006
Format: DVD
François Ozon (Water Drops on Burning Rocks, 8 Women, Swimming Pool, 5X2) is one of the most fascinatingly talented French directors on the scene today. His films have a simplicity, a direct approach to the mind and the heart, and an extreme respect for both his actors and his audience - factors that allow him a means for communication that is rare and proves he has few equals. In LE TEMPS QUI RESTE (Time to Leave) he addresses that earth-shattering moment of being informed that death is imminent and shows us how one character copes with that information and how it changes his remaining days and his history of relating to others.

Romain (Melvil Poupaud) is a handsome and successful fashion photographer who is gay, has a lover Sasha (Christian Sengewald), but is somewhat estranged from his family. For some reason he cannot relate to his pregnant sister Sophie (Louise-Anne Hippeau) despite his mother's (Marie Rivière) pleading and his father's (Daniel Duval) distance. During a fashion shoot Romain faints, is taken to the doctor (Henri de Lorme) who informs him he has metastatic cancer for which there is little hope (except for chemotherapy and radiation therapy) that he will live past a few months. Romain opts to go without treatment and begins to face his remaining life with silent gloom. After a very sensuous sexual encounter with Sasha (Ozon holds nothing back in depicting this!), Romain decides to quit his job, tells Sasha to leave, separates from his family, and visits his beloved grandmother Laura (Jeanne Moreau, as exciting an actress as ever!) who shares her philosophy of living and dying and bonds even more closely with the grandson who mirrors her own life. Her sage wisdom is what grounds Romain.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although I can't say I love it, there is much to admire in "Time to Leave", in which the protagonist, 31-year old Romain (Melvil Poupaud) who has been diagnosed with malignant brain cancer, chooses to make his amends with the various people in his life: his sister with whom he has a contentious relationship, his lover, his father. Suddenly, the squabbles of Romain's life seem petty in the face of imminent mortality; the harsh reality of his impending doom forces him to grow up quickly. Romain, by his own admission, is not particularly likable; although I found Romain to be essentially good, I didn't feel tremendous empathy for him. Ozon portrays Romain's struggle realistically, but with too much sentimentality. There are several scenes/flashbacks in which Romain encounters himself as a child, a technique I found to be mawkish. Jeanne Moreau has a small yet touching role as Laura, Romain's grandmother; her participation is what first attracted me to this film. Romain chooses to confide in Laura over anyone else in his life, since she, like him, is "closer to death"; he suddenly questions the importance of all the people in his life, and whether or not he loves, or ever has loved, anyone. Perhaps in an attempt to solve that dilemma, Romain decides to commit an act of love, literally and metaphorically, by impregnating Jany (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), the roadside waitress cafe, whose husband is sterile.

I was intrigued by Ozon's representation of a gay bar backroom/darkroom in "Time to Leave". To Ozon's credit, I haven't seen any examples of this kind of MSM environment in LGBT-themed American pictures. Conversely, Ozon's darkroom could be described as "suburban".
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Format: DVD
((Here is my approach to obtaining/viewing/reviewing Gay tales in film form. Simply, it's seeking the holy grail of that genre, the "Addictive Film"---that movie one returns to time and again. Selection/purchase is based mainly on finding new releases by favorite directors/screenwriters and/or on comments/reviews by others of you at major online film sales/review sites. Re your reviews, sometimes I feel correctly steered (the "Keepers" filling my DVD shelves), other times mislead, occasionally badly (the "Throwaways"---and I do toss 'em). Rarely, I come across the "Addictive," those watchable every couple of months or so (see below starred *** area for a list......and some of the "near-Addictive" as well). For some movies, I'll want to share a full review with you, as follows for this film. Thanks for sticking with me so far.))

(Message to the Director:......Ah, Francois.....Francois, if your intent was to give us a heart shatteringly sad tale, you've succeeded only too well. Yet, in the end, you have also given us---in Valeria Bruni Tedeschi's character of Jany---a glimpse of Romain's redemption.)

This is one of the most despairingly heart-rending films you are likely to see: the tale of a dying young man who, perhaps unwisely, decides not to share his impending death (and choice not to fight overwhelming odds) with anyone close to him. This is true for everyone, except a beloved grandmother, and goes even so far as to include driving away a lover.

The resulting loneliness and feelings of loss this amazing French actor (Melvil Poupaud) causes us to share with him are overwhelming; at times we're struck almost physically---not just emotionally.
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