Love story Laurence Anyways questions true acceptance of others

In Laurence Anyways, a devoted couple's relationship is put to the test and filmmaker Xavier Dolan asks: has acceptance of others really improved today?

In Xavier Dolan's latest film Laurence Anyways, a devoted couple's relationship is put to the ultimate test and the filmmaker asks: have human relations and acceptance of others really improved today? 

The romantic drama, named best Canadian feature film at the conclusion of the Toronto International Film Festival this month, opens in Canadian theatres Friday. It's an emotional roller coaster that follows soulmates Laurence (Melvil Poupaud) and Fred (Suzanne Clément) as their relationship shifts and changes through the years.

"It's a movie about this moment [for] a couple when...the honeymoon's over," Dolan told CBC/Radio-Canada's Kevin Sweet in a recent interview.

"You come to a point where you want to be yourself — and you're becoming more and more of yourself — and obviously asking the person with whom you are to accept this."

At the heart of Laurence Anyways is Fred, in an award-winning performance by Clément, who must grapple with her partner's revelation that he is a transsexual. 

Xavier Dolan won TIFF's best Canadian feature film award for Laurence Anyways on Sept. 16. (John Rieti/CBC)

"Transsexuality is the ultimate metaphor, for me, for authenticity in a couple," 23-year-old Dolan said.

The French-language drama, which made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival this past spring, initially begins in the 1980s and skips forward to the 1990s. Setting films in the past shows "how poorly things have changed in matters of human dynamics," he said, noting that for instance, acceptance of transsexuals has not improved as much as people may have hoped.

Dolan noted that we're currently living 12 years after the time period depicted at the conclusion of his film.

"Maybe it's not that great. It gets better, but does it really?"