Death of a Ladies’ Man (15)
Death of a Ladies’ Man (15)
Director: Matt Bissonnette
Runtime: 1h 40m
Cast: Gabriel Byrne, Brian Gleeson, Jessica Paré, Antoine Olivier Pilon, Karelle Tremblay, Suzanne Clément, Joel Bissonnette, Pascale Bussières, Alexandre Nachi and Tyrone Benskin.
Synopsis: Death of a Ladies’ Man tells the story of the womanising poetry professor, Samuel O’Shea, a college literature professor in Montreal who must confront his mortality and make peace with his family after a series of hallucinations lead to his diagnosis with an inoperable brain tumour.
Writer/director Matt Bissonnette [Who Loves the Sun (2006), Passenger Side (2009) and Looking for Leonard (2002)] has created a new film which is a highly emotional and entertaining drama, supported by a magnificent interpretation by Gabriel Byrne and the presence of many iconic songs by Leonard Cohen.
Cohen’s iconic songs – “Bird on the Wire,” “Hallelujah,” “The Lost Canadian,” “Did I Ever Love You,” among others – echo the mood of the film and with Samuel O’Shea’s (Gabriel Byrne) distressed character.
Death of a Ladies’ Man tells the story of the womanising poetry professor, Samuel O’Shea [Gabriel Byrne –Hereditary (2018), The Usual Suspects (1995), Miller’s Crossing (1990)], whose life spirals out of control when he realises that he is suffering from hallucinations: Frankenstein sidles to the bar, strangers sing and dance to Leonard Cohen tunes, and his father Ben O’Shea [Brian Gleeson – Phantom Thread (2017), Frank of Ireland (TV 2021)] who died when Samuel was just a boy, pops in for chats. Unsure of his next step, Samuel journeys to remote Ireland to stay in his old family home. As he finds peace in the remote calm of the Irish countryside and begins work on his final novel, he unexpectedly meets an high-spirited woman, Charlotte [Jessica Paré – Mad Men (TV 2010-15), Brooklyn (2015)] who shows him it’s never too late to find love.
Dominated by an outstanding performance from Gabriel Byrne, a compelling portrait of a 62-year-old womaniser and absent father trying to reconnect with his two kids, a gay hockey player, Layton [Antoine Olivier Pilon – Mommy (2014), Most Wanted (2020) and 1:54 (2016)] and a self-deluded aspiring actress, Josée [Karelle Tremblay– Le Temps des chenilles (2016), Our Loved Ones (2015)], who both have recently started new relationships. Knowing that he is running out of time, Samuel decides to travel back to his native country, Ireland where he will try to finally write his novel. He hopes that the impossible can happen, and he will have plenty of time to love, drink and search for inspiration.
Matt Bissonnette’s film is highly original and a blend of surreal humour, romance, psychological drama and musical combined with sparkling dialogue, including familiar quotes from William Butler Yeats and Leonard Cohen.
The brain tumour generating hallucinations is a narrative trope that cleverly allows Bissonnette to lead Samuel into several mischievous situations and musical sequences, where the film’s themes are reflected through the use of seven Leonard Cohen songs in its musical soundtrack: “Bird on the Wire”, “Memories”, “Hallelujah”, “Why Don’t You Try”, “Heart with No Companion”, “The Lost Canadian (Un Canadien errant)” and “Did I Ever Love You”.
Death of a Ladies’ Man is a highly entertaining serio-comic drama with a monumental interpretation by Gabriel Byrne; and it is worth seeking out for the presence of and homage to many iconic songs by Leonard Cohen, maklng it a must watch for fans of the late singer-songwriter.
Blue Finch Film Releasing presents Death of a Ladies’ Man on digital download platforms.
Images courtesy of Blue Finch Film Releasing