Quebecois director Louise Archambault follows her smart and refreshing debut feature Familia with this tender drama about a developmentally challenged young woman’s quest for independence and sexual freedom.
Louise Archambault's smart and refreshing debut feature Familia marked the arrival of an extraordinary new talent in Canadian film. Delivering on the promise of her earlier work, Gabrielle is a stunning, tender film about a developmentally challenged young woman's quest for independence and sexual freedom.
Living in a group home, musically talented Gabrielle has found love in Martin, a fellow member in a choir for developmentally disabled adults. Gabrielle (Gabrielle Marion-Rivard) and Martin (Alexandre Landry) want to explore their feelings for one another physically, but are not allowed. Convinced that living alone will allow her to have the intimate relationship she so desperately craves, Gabrielle tries valiantly to prove she can be independent.
As she did with Familia — which won Best Canadian First Feature at the Festival — Archambault displays her keen ability to distill the emotional currents of families at a crossroads. Gabrielle's rock is her sister Sophie (Mélissa Désormeaux- Poulin) who tries to help her but knows full independence will never be possible. Meanwhile, Sophie is facing her own life-altering decision. Unlike the fraught relationship the women have with their mother, Sophie and Gabrielle find immeasurable strength and inspiration in each other.
At the core of this film is the heartfelt
performance by Marion-Rivard (who has
Williams syndrome in real life). Gabrielle's
effusive giddiness is contagious, her drive
unrelenting. As the choir works towards
its big performance with Quebec music
legend Robert Charlebois, this turbulent,
moving journey is furthered by
Mathieu Laverdière's ethereal cinematography.
Produced by the team behind
Academy Award-nominated Incendies and
Monsieur Lazhar, Gabrielle is a captivating
film about tolerance and finding happiness,
but, above all, it is a story of love.
AGATA SMOLUCH DEL SORBO