Jacques and November

A young man with terminal cancer records the last 30 days of his life on videotape. Filmmakers Francois Bouvier and Jean Beaudry (who also stars) give the material a very convincing documentary look that helps to vitiate some of the too-obvious calculation of the script, which moves from wry, ironic detachment to unmitigated melodrama. While this French-Canadian production packs an undeniable emotional impact and features a whole range of detailed but pleasingly casual performances, it finally seems a little too polished for its own good—the cinematic equivalent of an off-Broadway play.

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