It?s Christmas. Simon is 19 years old. He returns home with Louise, a young stranger he has met on the train. His relationship with his parents is in turmoil. One evening a telephone call disturbs this family situation, b... more »urdened by an oppressive secret?« less
UNREQUITED LOVE........or A STUDY IN SELF-DESTRUCTION:
JUST A REVIEWER2 | 06/23/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
I really like the description of main character, Simon, given us by earlier reviewer, Trang T. Nguyen "Purple Angel," who says---"Simon is a sensitive, private, lonely, broken, and tormented soul." But I do think when Angel goes on to say: "There is no "obvious" sexual between him and Mathieu," that he is missing one of the major points of this film. It seems clear to me that it is this very love for Mathieu which is creating havoc with Simon's emotions. I believe they have had an earlier "relationship," and it was likely a sexual one (note that during Simon's first visit to the lighthouse and conversation with Mathieu, they make reference to it). However, it soon becomes apparent to us and to Simon that M. is moving on as concerns his relationship preferences (yes, he likely enjoys the wild kiss he initiates with S.---at Louise's urging---but not enough to change his current course). Louise is now his focus, something that becomes 'majorly' upsetting to S.
If you require further proof of Simon's true feelings, you need only view the late-in-the-film scene in which S. enters Mathieu's quarters (when M. is away), makes his way to the bed, lies in it, eyes closed, holding the bedclothes, then the pillow, to his nose and deeply breathing in Mathieu's scent. While doing this, he is moved to initiate his own self-gratification. A tremendously sexy scene---I kept hoping Mathieu would appear in the doorway, but obviously other things were afoot. (Am not sure what Purple Angel might have thought this scene was all about).
Mother, Marie's, startling disclosure near film's conclusion, concerning one of the major relationships in Simon's life, results in an ending you are unlikely to soon forget.
PS: Much of this script is a little slow moving and, sometimes, repetitive. All 3 of my awarded Stars are given, especially for Ulliel's acting as Simon, but also for Garcia's as mother. I won't be throwing this out of my DVD collection, but likely will not be viewing it often.
Plots and Secrets
interested_observer | San Francisco, CA USA | 01/30/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Last Day" ("Le dernier jour") shows us a visit by a depressed, eighteen-year old photographer, Simon (played by Gaspard Ulliel) to his family home on the Ile de Re, off the west coast of France. Taking a train from Paris to La Rochelle, he is approached by a stranger, seventeen-year old Louise (Melanie Laurent), who clings closely enough to win an invitation to join his visit. Simon's parents and his parents' friends immediately think of Simon and Louise as a couple, possibly even engaged. Simon, on the other hand, has an old bond with lighthouse keeper Mathieu (Thibault Vincon). Simon is downcast when Louise resists his pro forma attempts at sex, preferring a romance with Mathieu. Meanwhile, Simon's mother, Marie (Nicole Garcia), has her own issues when an old flame, Marc (Bruno Todeschini), tries to renew their acquaintance. There are some twists on the way to an ambiguously down ending.
The acting and photography are fine. There are good skin shots of Simon and of Louise. It is helpful to see the film more than once to notice the small points that lead to the conclusions. The only extras are some trailers.
"The Last Day" shows how far some people are willing to go to satisfy their curiosity, how far others go to disguise their sexual orientation, and how far others go to have the type of family they want. Put it all together, and you have a strange but intriguing movie.
If you like Gaspard Ulliel....
Jose A. Narbona | Jerez, Spain and Houston, TX | 02/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"... this is your movie because he developes a very enigmatic and attractive performance in a simple but captivating movie. The best of the movie by far, from my perspective, is that Gaspard Ulliel looks like one of the most beautiful guys on the world (the camera falls in love with him, I assure you). And you don't even need to see the movie itself because just the images of him on the main menu of the dvd can be a total delight for your eyes. Pure beauty, beautiful (but sad) story and... even sadder ending. I guess the ending is necessary to get the ultimate flavour of the script but.... it's better not to watch it if you are in one of those very, very happy days!! Ideal movie for a quite night with a grey day or rain outside. And of course, essential movie for Gaspard Ulliel fans like me. You won't be disappointed."
The frustrations of growing up
J. Malloy | 12/29/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This movie is well crafted and the acting is very good. It's slow moving at times but the plight of the main character, his vulnerability and his obviously growing pain, pulled me into the movie so that I felt a strong need to see it through. It becomes increasingly clear that the main character, Simon, is a lonely young man. The movie begins by showing the viewer the end of the movie, without giving away the ending -- very cleverly done. I don't want to give anything away, but one might be tempted to ask "does this thing still happen in 2005." I think the answer is a resounding yes, which indicates that GLBT equality has a long way to go."
The Struggles of a Broken Spirit
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Rodolphe Marconi ('Love Forbidden') is a director and writer to watch. He has a signature style already (he is quite young in the industry) and knows how to use that sensitivity to tell touching stories. LE DERNIER JOUR or THE LAST DAY is a mood piece, spare on dialogue, misty in its depiction of young emotional feelings, challenging in its play with time devices, and ultimately very satisfying for those who enjoy the French manner of film making.
Simon (the very handsome and gifted young actor Gaspard Ulliel of 'A Very Long Engagement') boards a train bound for the coast where he is to spend time in his family's seaside cabin. Most of his ride is spent gazing out the windows at the misty countryside, telling us more about this lonely, lost, vulnerable young eighteen year boy than a thousand words. On the train is a young girl Louise (Mélanie Laurent) who seems to be shadowing him. When Simon arrives home he is met by his loving mother Marie (Nicole Garcia), his sister Alice (Alysson Paradis) and his father Jean-Louis (Christophe Malavoy). Louise joins Simon as a guest in his home and his family thinks the two are a couple. Though they sleep in the same bed, Simon's mind and longing are for a lad who lives in the lighthouse, Mathieu (Thibault Vinçon). Simon visits Mathieu, with Louise not far behind, and though we feel a kinship between the two boys, Louise forces her attention on Mathieu and Simon becomes a third party. In a telling moment when the three are in a pub Louise insists that Simon and Mathieu kiss, and that kiss tells a lot about the current state of mind of both boys. Simon becomes isolated, longs for Mathieu who has moved on from their past relationship, an emotional level which is culminated in a visit to Mathieu's home where Simon, alone on Mathieu's bed, re-visits the passion and lust and love for Mathieu in a scene of radiant beauty.
Simon's parents argue at all time and this leads to the discovery of a previous affair his mother had, an affair which holds secrets that drive a stake into Simon's relationship to Louise and to his mother's lover Pierre (Daniel Berbioux) who as he visits the mother uncovers significant mysteries. The story ends tragically in a coda suggestive of the beginning of the film. It is stunning.
For some the sparse dialogue may prevent the storyline from driving clearly, but in the hands, eyes, and body of Gabriel Ulliel words are wholly unnecessary. If there were no other reason to see this very sensitive film, having the opportunity to observe the talented Ulliel would be sufficient. Recommended viewing, in French with English subtitles. Grady Harp, November 06 "