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Best French-Canadian Movies of the 2010s, Ranked

MovieWeb logo MovieWeb 7/23/2022 Jessica Gardner
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It may come as a surprise to you that many of today’s blockbuster Hollywood films are attributed to French-Canadian directors. Director Denis Villeneuve, for example, who is known for Dune, Blade Runner 2049, Prisoners, and Sicario, was born and raised in Quebec. He became interested in filmmaking early on and would study film at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Before his time in the limelight, the talented auteur directed many powerful French-Canadian films, among them Polytechnique, an unnerving and emotional dramatization of one of the deadliest mass shootings in Canadian history.

Another well-respected Quebecois director is the late Jean-Marc Vallée known for such hits as Dallas Buyers Club, Wild, and Big Little Lies. Vallée was born in Montreal and would eventually study film at College Anhustic. In his early career, he made several popular short films before hitting it big with C.R.A.Z.Y. an LGBTQ+ coming-of-age drama. The film was so well-received that it caught the eye of iconic director Martin Scorcese who offered Vallée a job directing The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt. Here, we celebrate these French-Canadian directors and more with a curated list of the best French-Canadian movies of the 2010s, ranked.

Le Problème d’infiltration

Le Problème d'infiltration follows the story of successful surgeon Louis Richard (Christian Begin) who seemingly has the perfect existence, until he treats a patient with third-degree burns and begins to lose control over his life and his sanity. Le Problème d'infiltration is one of the best French-Canadian movies of the 2010s because of how director Robert Morin skillfully capitalizes on the film medium to put the audience in the shoes of main protagonist Louis on his descent into madness.

Related: These Are Some of the Best French Movies on Netflix

Starbuck

Starbuck is loosely based on the true story of French-Canadian sperm donor David Wozniak. The film, however, takes creative liberties and inflates the number of offspring born to the titular character. Starbuck is a feel-good comedy that follows hapless deliveryman David Wozniak (Patrick Huard) upon his finding out he fathered 533 children through sperm donations made in his youth. The film follows the main protagonist on his journey of self-discovery and maturation upon learning of all the lives he affected. Starbuck inspired two remakes: the 2013 Delivery Man starring VInce Vaughn, and the Bollywood film Vicky Donor.

Gabrielle

In one of the best French-Canadian films of the 2010s, Louise Archambault tells a heartwarming tale in Gabrielle, about a woman living with Williams Syndrome and diabetes who begins a sexual relationship with a fellow choirmate at a choir for disabled people. At odds with her family over her decisions, Gabrielle must begin to take ownership of her own life. The film was praised for its disabled representation, and even selected members of its cast from a real-world disabled choir in Montreal, including star Gabrielle Marion-Rivard.

Café de Flore

Café de Flore is a drama about love and relationships, told through two intertwining storylines set in the past and present. It chronicles a relationship between a mother and her disabled son, and a recent divorcee who must adjust to having a new woman in her daughter's lives. The two stories are not connected in any tangible way, yet are eerily similar and take the viewer on a haunting emotional journey. Café de Flore is not only one of the best French-Canadian films of 2010, but it is also one of Jean Marc Vallée's best movies.

Laurence Anyways

Laurence Anyways is written and directed by Xavier Dolan. It follows ten years of the life of transgender woman Laurence Alia, wherein she transitions into a woman after years of suppressing her identity. Laurence Anyways is one of the best French-Canadian films of the 2010s for its raw and honest depiction of complex human relationships. The film was nominated for a slew of awards at the first Canadian Screen Awards and won Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

Related: Best Movies From Director Xavier Dolan, Ranked

Monsieur Lazhar

Monsieur Lazhar is a 2011 Quebecois drama directed by Philippe Falardeau and based on Bashir Lazhar, a one character play by Evelyn de la Cheneliere. Monsieur Lazhar is a sweet yet powerful inspirational movie that stands above the rest for its honesty and maturity. It tells the story of an Algerian immigrant who becomes a substitute teacher in the wake of the former teacher's tragic suicide. Mohammed Fellag gives a hearty performance as the titular character Bachir Lazhar, who helps his students deal with their trauma all the while suffering his own trauma from the recent loss of his family. The film was nominated for six Genie awards and was also submitted for Canada's Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th annual Academy Awards.

Incendies

Before his success with Dune, Arrival, and Enemy, Dennis Villeneuve directed this powerful critically acclaimed drama about a pair of twins who visit their mother's homeland to fulfill her dying wish by seeking out a father and brother they never knew existed. On their journey throughout the Middle East, the duo uncovers their mother's tragic past while becoming embroiled in a civil war. Incendies was nominated for eight Genie Awards including Best Picture and marks the beginning of a streak of hit movies for the French-Canadian director.

Mommy

Directed by Xavier Dolan, this French-Canadian drama follows a widowed single mother and the ups and downs of raising her violent teenage son. At a crossroads, Diane (Suzanne Clement) must decide to either leave her son institutionalized and risk him never being rehabilitated or bring him home. The film was praised for its superb acting, and incredible performance by Suzanne Clement. Mommy won numerous awards including the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The Montreal Gazette gave it 5 out 5 stars and dubbed the film "an ode to the strength of tough working-class single mothers everywhere".

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