Reviewed Aug 19, 2012
The 2003 NY Film Festival was packed with great films, but “The Barbarian Invasions” was among my favorites — I fell in love on the spot. It’s the sequel to “The Decline of the American Empire” (1986), which I hadn’t yet seen at the time, but it stands strong on its own. Rémy, the women- & wine-loving professor & radical socialist, lies dying in a Montréal hospital. Essentially alone & at the mercy of the Canadian healthcare system, he reflects on all the choices & mistakes made throughout his life, wishing he could make amends — and it’s his estranged capitalist son, Sébastien, who helps him find peace & dignity before death. It’s poignant & political, but also quite hysterical — Rémy’s led a colorful life, and the parade of friends & former lovers who come to say goodbye provide ample laughs to break up the heavier subjects. The whole cast delivers great performances, making it quite simply, a wonderful film with a touch of everything.