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Awesome: 35.48%
Worth A Look: 16.13%
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Sucks: 3.23%

3 reviews, 13 user ratings

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Barbarian Invasions, The
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by Elaine Perrone

"Aging French-Canadian free-thinkers sit around talking...and talking..."
3 stars

Its title based upon a TV talking head referring to 9/11 as the day barbarians invaded North American soil, The Barbarian Invasions, Denys Arcand's talky sequel to his 1986 The Decline of the American Empire, is about changes encroaching upon the lives of a group of 1960s intellectuals, here reunited at the deathbed of one of their own.

The dying man is Rémy (Rémy Girard), a womanizing history professor, whose son Sébastien (Stéphane Rousseau) has traveled from London to Montreal to reunite his father's old friends and lovers for one final time. Sébastien is an investment banker with a seemingly endless supply of cash that he uses to grease the skids, getting his father settled in to a spacious room with a private nurse (Micheline Lanctôt) in an overcrowded hospital, paying three of Rémy's former students to visit him, and procuring heroin to ease his father's pain.

Gathering around Rémy are his ex-wife Louise (Dorothée Berryman) and two ex-lovers (Dominique Michel, Louise Portal), and old friends Claude and Pierre (Yves Jacques, Pierre Curzi), who have scattered around the world and led disparate lives since their last meeting in 1986.

As in The Decline of the American Empire, this group of French-Canadian free-thinkers doesn't do much but sit around and reminisce about the good old days of debauchery when they were the sexual pioneers of the freewheeling '60s. Oh, they elevate their conversations with discussion about how the Catholic Church and the world have changed around them, and Arcand interjects a bit of an overview of the sorry state of socialized medicine in Canada, but in the end "Invasions" is all about a bunch of people who seem to bask in their love of their own words and the sounds of their own voices.

For me, the most sympathetic character is Sébastien, the prodigal son who comes home to care for his father during his last days despite their years of estrangement, who orchestrates the reunion of old friends and lovers, and who showers his father with love in the only way he knows how -- by whipping out his checkbook. Sébastien, whom Rémy refers to as "an ambitious and puritanical capitalist" to Rémy's own "sensual socialist," turns out to be the one with the heart to know exactly how to make his father's last days more comfortable, and the means to accomplish it.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=8349&reviewer=376
originally posted: 07/18/04 22:16:58
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This film is available for download or online viewing at CinemaNow.com For more in the CinemaNow.com series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/27/08 proper amateur film critic Sweet and poignant, perceptive and true 5 stars
11/11/04 paul fernandez another great father and son story...entertaining and witty... 4 stars
9/22/04 denny enjoyable; can't find the first one of dvd 4 stars
7/18/04 Amerigo Vespukey Great review, Perrone! Less talk, more rock hippies!! 2 stars
6/25/04 Graham Smug, sugary, pseudy and featuring the worst case of 'movie cancer' since Love Story. 1 stars
6/17/04 T. Maj Yay! A film for people over 25! Better than first film, too. 4 stars
5/22/04 Ray Breahtaking!!! 5 stars
4/30/04 john exquisite, touching, real, witty, lusty, melancholy, fun, art 5 stars
4/18/04 BAH Fabulous, moving adult, grown up movie 5 stars
3/17/04 Reini Urban Worse than the first, easy book, but okay. 4 stars
2/22/04 gökhan aylan best movie I have ever watced 5 stars
11/24/03 Boombah Baby Good Canadian flick. 4 stars
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  21-Nov-2003 (R)
  DVD: 13-Jul-2004



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