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From Quebec to Montreal

by Archives September 18, 2002

Strange and amusing: those are the two words that come to mind when watching the film Quebec-Montreal. It is the directorial debut of Ricardo Trogi and the writing debuts of Jean-Philippe Pearson and Patrice Robitaille, who also star in the film.

The story follows three sets of people on their way from Quebec City to Montreal. On the three-hour trip, the different sets all have conversations about love, sex and relationships and how they affect people. The first group consists of three male friends going to Cuba together for a week and are making their way to Dorval airport. The guys discuss threesomes and how women perceive sex and one-night stands. The actors have a great chemistry together and really play off of each other with snappy dialogue and well-timed punch lines.

The second group is two co-workers going to a conference in Montreal. The guy is obviously in love with the girl and tries to find out if she would be interested in him without coming out and saying it. The girl is oblivious and tells him all sorts of things about how she treats men and the way they treat her.

The third ensemble is a couple that is in the process of moving from Quebec City to Montreal. The guy doesn’t want to move because he fears that Montreal is going to be suffocating and he won’t know anyone. He also worries that his girlfriend will like Montreal too much and will want to stay forever. The girlfriend is sick of her boyfriend’s complaining and can’t understand why he is so resistant to change. The two end up breaking up in their car, and the girlfriend hitches a ride to Montreal, leaving the whiny boyfriend to fend for himself.

The good things about this movie are easy to spot: a good script, interesting and complex characters and a nice open highway to Montreal. The dialogue is fast and if you see the movie without subtitles, you may struggle with all of the slang the characters use. Through the dialogue, we see what can happen when you tell someone the truth or when you lie to save them. The characters show us how we would react in these types of situations.

The bad things about this movie are mainly concerning the actors themselves and the ending of the movie. Almost all the male actors are hard to look at while the women are not. It begs the question as to whether the director purposefully chose ugly men and beautiful women to show how the two sexes contrast with their views and opinions.

Also, the ending leaves you wanting more, which makes you wonder whether there originally was an ending to the script. The characters are all left hanging with their problems. But there is a certain sense of insight as you watch the groups stare blankly down the road towards Montreal.
Quebec-Montreal is playing at AMC with English subtitles.

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