Laurence Anyways

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Laurence Anyways
File:Laurence anyways.jpg
Official theatrical poster
Directed by Xavier Dolan
Produced by
Written by Xavier Dolan
Music by Noia
Cinematography Yves Bélanger
Edited by Xavier Dolan
  • Lyla Films
  • MK2
Distributed by Alliance VivaFilm
Release dates
  • 18 May 2012 (2012-05-18) (Cannes)
  • 18 July 2012 (2012-07-18) (France)
  • 13 September 2012 (2012-09-13) (TIFF)
Running time
168 minutes[1]
Country Canada
Language French

Laurence Anyways is a 2012 Canadian romantic drama film written, edited, and directed by Xavier Dolan. The film competed in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival[2][3] where Suzanne Clément won the Un Certain Regard Award for Best Actress.[4] The film also won the Queer Palm Award at the festival.[5]

The story of an impossible love between a woman named Fred (Frédérique) and a transgender woman named Laurence (then living as a man) who reveals her inner desire to become her true self: a woman. Set during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the story spans a decade, chronicling the doomed love of Fred and Laurence, as well as the trials and tribulations that they face.

Where Dolan's earlier film Heartbeats borrowed some of its style from the work of director Wong Kar-wai, the visual style of Laurence Anyways has been compared to late-career Stanley Kubrick in its contrast between a naturalistic, almost documentary-influenced way of shooting and Dolan's more visually lyrical passages.[6]

At the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, the film won the award for Best Canadian Feature Film.[7] The film also received ten nominations at the 1st Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Motion Picture, Best Direction for Dolan, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Poupaud, Best Actress in a Leading Role for Clément, and Best Screenplay for Dolan.


The film begins by introducing Laurence (Melvil Poupaud), a 30-year-old transgender woman living as a man, who is an award-winning novelist and literature teacher in Montréal. Laurence is very much in love with her girlfriend, the fiery and passionate Fred (Suzanne Clément). On the day of Fred's birthday, she reveals to Fred her biggest secret; she has felt for his entire life that she was born in the wrong body and says that she has been living a lie for so many years. She wishes to rectify his situation and restart her life as a woman. Fred accuses her of being gay and takes the news very hard. They separate for a short time, but Fred arrives at the conclusion, much to the chagrin of her mother and sister, that she must be there for Laurence. Their romance resumes and Fred becomes Laurence's biggest supporter. Fred teaches Laurence how to do her makeup and buys her a wig. She urges Laurence to dress as her true self, in female clothing. Laurence shows up to work one day in a dress. All seemingly goes well until she is released from her position at the school due to the negative reception of her transformation. Fred falls into a state of depression and eventually leaves Laurence and moves away. Fred marries a man, Albert, and has a son named Leo.

Five years later, Laurence, although living with and romantically engaged with Charlotte, is still deeply in love with Fred. She stalks her regularly, often driving and parking outside of her house in Trois-Rivières. After publishing her book of poems, she sends a copy to Fred, who decodes the poems' secret message meant for her. She contacts her, and the two meet and run away to the Isle of Black. However, the romantic getaway turns sour and the two argue. Fred reveals she was pregnant when Laurence revealed her gender identity, and Fred had an abortion. Fred's husband learns her whereabouts from Charlotte and Fred's relationship and life with him is shattered. Laurence leaves Fred in the night and the two do not speak for several years.

Whilst being interviewed for her biography, the interviewer inquires about Fred, after having listened to her story. She admits that she had recently reconnected with Fred, newly divorced, however their meeting did not go well. She tells the interviewer that she has chosen to age as a woman.

The final scene shows the circumstances under which Fred and Laurence had initially met, on a commercial set, Laurence having been bet to talk to Fred.


  • Melvil Poupaud as Laurence Alia
  • Suzanne Clément as Frédérique "Fred" Belair
  • Nathalie Baye as Julienne Alia
  • Monia Chokri as Stéfie Belair
  • Susie Almgren as Journalist
  • Yves Jacques as Michel Lafortune
  • Sophie Faucher as Andrée Belair
  • Magalie Lépine-Blondeau as Charlotte
  • David Savard as Albert
  • Catherine Bégin as Mama Rose
  • Emmanuel Schwartz as Baby Rose
  • Jacques Lavallée as Dada Rose
  • Perette Souplex as Tatie Rose
  • Patricia Tulasne as Shookie Rose
  • Anne-Élisabeth Bossé as Mélanie


The film was released in the United Kingdom by Network Releasing. It was theatrically released on 30 November 2012[8] and on DVD on 25 March 2013.[9]

The film was released theatrically in the United States on 28 June 2013 by Breaking Glass Pictures and was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 8 October 2013.


The film received mostly positive reviews. It currently holds an 83% percent of positive reviews in the film critics website Rotten Tomatoes, with the general consensus being "Passionate and powerfully acted, Laurence Anyways sometimes strains to achieve its narrative ambitions (and fill its three-hour running time), but ultimately succeeds." The average rating is 7/10.[10]

Awards and nominations

Award Category Recipient(s) Result
Cannes Film Festival Queer Palm Xavier Dolan Won
Un Certain Regard - Best Actress Suzanne Clément Won
Un Certain Regard Award Xavier Dolan Nominated
César Awards Best Foreign Film Xavier Dolan Nominated
Canadian Screen Awards Best Motion Picture Lyse Lafontaine Nominated
Best Achievement in Direction Xavier Dolan Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role Melvil Poupaud Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Suzanne Clément Nominated
Best Screenplay Xavier Dolan Nominated
Best Original Score Noia Nominated
Best Costume Design Xavier Dolan, François Barbeau Won
Best Make-up Colleen Quinton, Kathy Kelso, Michelle Côté, Martin Lapointe Won
Best Sound Editing Sylvain Brassard, Stéphane Cadotte, Isabelle Favreau and Philippe Racine Nominated
Art Direction/Production Design Anne Pritchard Nominated
Dorian Awards[11] Film of the Year Nominated
Guldbagge Award Best Foreign Film Xavier Dolan Nominated
Jutra Award Best Film Charles Gillibert, Nathanaël Karmitz, Lyse Lafontaine, MK2 Productions, Lyla Films Nominated
Best Direction Xavier Dolan Nominated
Best Actress Suzanne Clément Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Nathalie Baye Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Monia Chokri Nominated
Best Screenplay Xavier Dolan Nominated
Best Cinematography Yves Bélanger Nominated
Best Art Direction Anne Pritchard Won
Best Hairstyling Michelle Côté, Martin Lapointe Won
Best Make-Up Kathy Kelso, Colleen Quinton Won
Best International Motion Picture Xavier Dolan Nominated
Lumières Award Best French-Language Film Xavier Dolan Nominated
RiverRun International Film Festival Jury Prize - Best Actress Suzanne Clément Won
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival Best North American Independent Film Xavier Dolan Nominated
Toronto International Film Festival Best Canadian Feature Film Xavier Dolan Won
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Actor in a Canadian Film Melvil Poupaud Nominated
Best Actress in a Canadian Film Suzanne Clément Nominated


  1. "Laurence Anyways (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "2012 Official Selection". Cannes. Retrieved 21 April 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Dolan in two minds over Cannes". Times Colonist. Retrieved 21 April 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Cannes (27 May 2012). "Awards 2012". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 27 May 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. AFP (2012-05-27). "Queer Palm 2012: 'Laurence Anyways' de Xavier Dolan distingué à Cannes". France 24 (in French). Retrieved 2012-05-29. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Paul, Lewis. "Laurence Anyways review". Rewind. Retrieved 25 March 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Toronto International Film Festival: Awards". Retrieved 16 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Launching Films". Film Distributors Association. Retrieved 7 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Network Releasing Laurence Anyways". Network Releasing. Retrieved 7 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Laurence Anyways". Laurence Anyways. Retrieved 17 December 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Out (magazine) (15 January 2014). "GALECA 2013 nominees". Retrieved 22 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links