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Theatrical release poster
Directed byJean-Marc Vallée
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyPierre Mignot
Edited byPaul Jutras
Cirrus Communications
Playtime Films
Distributed byTVA Films
Release date
  • May 27, 2005 (2005-05-27)
Running time
127 minutes
BudgetCAD 6,500,000
Box office$9,892,417

C.R.A.Z.Y. is a 2005 Canadian coming-of-age drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and co-written by Vallée and François Boulay. It tells the story of Zac, a young gay man dealing with homophobia while growing up with four brothers and his father in Quebec during the 1960s and 1970s. The film employs an extensive soundtrack, featuring artists such as David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Patsy Cline, Charles Aznavour, and The Rolling Stones.

A popular piece in the Cinema of Quebec, C.R.A.Z.Y. was one of the highest-grossing films of the year in the province. The film won numerous honours, among them 11 Genie Awards, including Best Motion Picture. At Quebec's Prix Jutra film awards, it won 13 awards in the competitive categories from 14 nominations, becoming the all-time record holder for most award wins at that ceremony; it also won both of the box-office based awards, the Billet d'or and the Film s'étant le plus illustré à l'extérieur du Québec, for a total of 15 awards overall.[1]

C.R.A.Z.Y was submitted for consideration for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but was not nominated.

In 2015, Toronto International Film Festival critics ranked it among the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time.


Born on Christmas in 1960, Zac is one of four and later five brothers: bookish Christian, rebellious Raymond, sporty, flatulent Antoine and then Yvan. He has a special relationship with his father Gervais, but things began to fall apart as Zac's non-masculine ways start to show. Their unique relationship officially ends when Gervais comes home to find Zac dressed in his mother's clothes. Ever since then, he "had unwittingly declared war on his father".

At the Christmas party in 1975, Zac shotguns a joint with his cousin Brigitte's boyfriend Paul, which sparks Zac's attraction. His friend Michelle tries to kiss him, but Zac stops her with the excuse of protecting their friendship. Later on, he discovers that Brigitte is no longer with Paul. In a moment of spontaneity, Zac runs a red light on his motorcycle, only to be struck by a car and hospitalized. Zac later learns that Brigitte is back with Paul.

Zac begins a relationship with Michelle, temporarily relieving Gervais — until he sees Zac stepping out of the car with a male classmate, adjusting his crotch. Angry, Gervais has Zac see a therapist to "cure" him of his "homosexuality". The therapist's conclusion is that Zac made "a subconscious deliberate mistake", intentionally doing it so that Gervais would catch him and find out he was "gay".

At the Christmas dinner in 1980, Zac and Michelle's relationship has become closer and more physical. His brother Christian announces his engagement. At Christian's wedding reception, Zac and Paul shotgun a joint outside, but are seen by a guest who thought they were kissing. Gervais overhears this gossip, and chaos ensues. Gervais confronts Zac in the pouring rain, and Zac admittedly comes out, yelling that while he was not kissing Paul, he wished he had been. A sobbing, eavesdropping Michelle runs out of hiding, and Gervais tells Zac to leave. Zac flies to Jerusalem. Disgusted with himself after a gay sexual escapade, he walks into the desert and collapses in exhaustion. A Bedouin, who finds Zac, drips water on Zac's face and takes Zac into his care.

Zac returns home to find his second eldest brother hospitalized after a heroin overdose; he dies the next day. After the funeral, Gervais hugs Zac emotionally. Ten years after his brother's death, Zac narrates that Gervais "had become my father once more", even to the point of allowing his lover into his house.


Marc-André Grondin plays Zachary.



Director Jean-Marc Vallée co-wrote the screenplay and assembled the soundtrack.

Director Jean-Marc Vallée conceived of the film when he and his wife met François Boulay while staying in a cottage in the Eastern Townships, Quebec. Boulay told them about his childhood and four brothers, with memories Vallée found sometimes amusing and sometimes concerning.[2] At Vallée's urging, Boulay later mailed Vallée a screenplay draft called Random Souvenirs of my Life based on his childhood, totaling 100 pages.[3] Vallée added elements about the mother character and began shaping a song list.[2] After seeing Good Will Hunting (1997), Vallée considered setting the film in Boston, but actor Michel Côté read the screenplay and persuaded Vallée that it was a fundamentally Quebec story.[3]

Vallée and Boulay worked on the screenplay for five years, finishing by November 2000. The projected budget of $8.9 million had to be reduced to $7.3 million before some sponsorship from Telefilm Canada could be secured.[4]


Shooting began in April 2004, but when the project ran out of money, filming temporarily ceased in the summer. Michel Côté made a personal donation to restart the project.[4]

Sets were generally inexpensive, though the film did require a large portion of the budget for special effects.[5] Art director Patrice Vermette made many decorations for the sets accurate for the periods.[6] In addition to being set in Montreal, Montreal was used as a filming location.[7] The scenes set in Jerusalem were filmed in Essaouira, Morocco, with the sand located one kilometre from the city being employed for desert shots.[8]


Nearly 10% of the budget was spent on acquiring song rights for the soundtrack, with the cost being $600,000.[9][10][11] Producers spent two and a half years obtaining the rights for all of them, and Vallée surrendered his salary to help pay for them.[12] Period music is an important element of the film, highlighting characters and recurrent themes and events in Zac's coming of age.[9][13] The soundtrack includes songs by Pink Floyd ("Shine On You Crazy Diamond," "The Great Gig in the Sky"), The Rolling Stones ("Sympathy for the Devil"), David Bowie ("Space Oddity"), Jefferson Airplane ("White Rabbit"), The Cure ("10:15 Saturday Night"), Giorgio Moroder ("From Here to Eternity"), Elvis Presley ("Santa Claus Is Back in Town"), and many others.[9][12][13] "Sympathy for the Devil" alone cost $138,000, as it is used for two minutes, 25 seconds.[10]

The Charles Aznavour song "Emmenez-moi" is repeated over and over in the film, often sung by the father. He also sings another Aznavour song — "Hier Encore", as part of Zac's 20th birthday celebrations. The title derives from the first letter in the names of the five brothers: Christian, Raymond, Antoine, Zachary and Yvan,[2] and also refers to their father's abiding love of Patsy Cline's song "Crazy", which itself is used as a recurring motif in the film.[3]


C.R.A.Z.Y. was rejected for competition in the 2005 Cannes Film Festival in April.[14] It opened on 75 screens in Quebec on 27 May 2005.[5] The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2005.[10] and the Marrakech International Film Festival in Morocco in November 2005.[8] It played in Toronto theatres in October,[5] and opened in Vancouver on 25 November.[3]

By the film's screening at the AFI Fest in November 2005, distribution was sold to 40 countries.[9] The film never had a general theatrical release in the United States, aside from film festivals. U.S. distribution rights issues were posed by the film's use of "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd.[4]

C.R.A.Z.Y. was initially released on DVD in Quebec in October 2005, followed by TVA Films' English-language Canadian DVD in April 2006. When Vallée learned the special features on the latter did not have English subtitles, he and TVA Films planned a corrected two-disc English DVD for November.[15]

In the wake of Vallée's death in December 2021, the film received a special tribute broadcast on the TVA network on December 29.[16] It was also added to Quebecor's streaming platform QUB in 2021, and reentered the Canadian box office charts in the winter of 2022.[17]

In June 2022, the film received its first significant release in the United States, playing selected LGBTQ film festivals before going into wider commercial release.[18] The film is received a memorial screening at the 80th Venice International Film Festival in September 2023.[19]


Box office[edit]

In its first two weeks, C.R.A.Z.Y. grossed $2 million in Quebec alone.[2] After seven weeks, the provincial gross reached C$3.6 million.[20] By October 2005, the film made nearly $6 million in Quebec theatres, placing second in the summer season provincial box office to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.[21] By March 2006, the film made over $6.2 million in Canadian theatres.[22] By that time, the gross outside of Quebec was $3,692,417.[23]

The film finished its run grossing $6.2 million in Quebec alone. It was the third highest-grossing film in Quebec in 2005, following Revenge of the Sith and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

C.R.A.Z.Y. has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 31 reviews, with a weighted average of 8.1/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Balancing heart and humor against outstanding work from a talented cast, C.R.A.Z.Y. proves the coming-of-age formula can still produce powerful results."[24] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 81 out of 100, based on 5 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[25]

In Canada, Susan Walker of The Toronto Star assessed the film as "moving, funny, truthful".[26] Martin Bilodeau praised the film in Le Devoir for its ambition and magic.[27] In Exclaim!, Allan Tong praised it as "a funny, infectious ride through Quebecois pop culture of the '60s and '70s", and honest with vitality.[28]

Liz Beardsworth from Empire positively reviewed the film for its acting, citing Marc-Andre Grondin and Michel Coté, and wit.[29] Jay Weissberg from Variety declared it a "bouncy coming-of-age tale" with great music and capable performances from Cote and Grondin.[30] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C+, with Jeff Labrecque writing it lacked character development.[31] Writing for BBC, Jamie Woolley remarked on the stylistic photography, found a few scenes overlong but concluded the film added up to more than the value of each scene combined.[32]

In December 2005, it was named to the Toronto International Film Festival's annual Canada's Top Ten list of the year's best films.[33]

In 2015, the Toronto International Film Festival placed C.R.A.Z.Y. eighth in the Top 10 Canadian Films of All Time.[34]


The film was submitted for consideration for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film,[3] but was not nominated.

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
AFI Fest November 2005 People's Choice Award Jean-Marc Vallée Won [35]
Atlantic Film Festival September 2005 Best Canadian Feature Won [36]
Genie Awards 13 March 2006 Best Motion Picture Pierre Even and Jean-Marc Vallée Won [37]
Best Direction Jean-Marc Vallée Won
Best Original Screenplay Jean-Marc Vallée and François Boulay Won
Best Actor Michel Côté Won
Marc-André Grondin Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Danielle Proulx Won
Best Cinematography Pierre Mignot Nominated
Best Editing Paul Jutras Won
Best Overall Sound Yvon Benoît, Daniel Bisson, Luc Boudrias and Bernard Gariépy Strobl Won
Best Sound Editing Martin Pinsonnault, Mira Mailhot, Simon Meilleur, Mireille Morin and Jean-François Sauvé Won
Best Art Direction / Production Design Patrice Vermette Won
Best Costume Design Ginette Magny Won
Golden Reel Award Pierre Even and Jean-Marc Vallée Won
Gijón International Film Festival 2005 Best Director Jean-Marc Vallée Won [38]
Best Screenplay François Boulay and Jean-Marc Vallée Won
Art Direction Patrice Vermette Won
Young Jury Prize Jean-Marc Vallée Won
Jutra Awards April 2006 Best Film Pierre Even and Jean-Marc Vallée Won [39]
Best Direction Jean-Marc Vallée Won
Best Screenplay Jean-Marc Vallée and François Boulay Won
Best Actor Marc-André Grondin Won
Best Supporting Actor Michel Côté Won
Pierre-Luc Brillant Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Danielle Proulx Won
Best Cinematography Pierre Mignot Won
Best Editing Paul Jutras Won
Best Art Direction Patrice Vermette Won
Best Sound Yvon Benoît, Daniel Bisson, Luc Boudrias, Bernard Gariépy Strobl, Martin Pinsonnault, Mira Mailhot, Simon Meilleur, Mireille Morin and Jean-François Sauvé Won
Best Costume Design Ginette Magny Won
Best Makeup Micheline Trépanier Won
Best Hairstyling Réjean Goderre Won
Lumières Awards 5 February 2007 Best French-Language Film Jean-Marc Vallée Nominated [40]
Maine International Film Festival 2007 Audience Favorite Award Won [41]
Toronto International Film Festival 8–17 September 2005 Best Canadian Film Won [42]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Jutra judges wild about C.R.A.Z.Y.". Montreal Gazette, March 20, 2006.
  2. ^ a b c d Hays, Matthew (20 June 2005). "Going C.R.A.Z.Y.: The story behind Quebec's current box-office triumph". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 23 June 2005. Retrieved 14 October 2005.
  3. ^ a b c d e Leiren-Young, Mark (24 November 2005). "Jean-Marc Vallée's keeps C.R.A.Z.Y. in Quebec". The Georgia Straight. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Knegt, Peter (4 March 2016). "Looking back at the crazy success story that was Jean-Marc Vallée's 'C.R.A.Z.Y.'". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Fox, Matthew (16 October 2005). "Quebec's own coming-of-age story". The Toronto Star. p. C03. Retrieved April 5, 2023.
  6. ^ Dumais, Manon (18 May 2005). "C.R.A.Z.Y. : Des airs de famille". Voir. Archived from the original on 2015-10-26. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  7. ^ Bowen, Arabella; Watson, John Shandy (1 June 2007). "Montreal on film". The Rough Guide to Montreal (3 ed.). Penguin. p. 293. ISBN 978-0756646882.
  8. ^ a b Tremblay, Odile (14 November 2005). "C.R.A.Z.Y. triomphe à Marrakech". Le Devoir. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d Seguin, Denis (21 November 2005). "A C.R.A.Z.Y. situation". Canadian Business. Vol. 78, no. 23. pp. 11–12.
  10. ^ a b c Johnson, Brian D. (24 October 2005). "Shine On You C.R.A.Z.Y. Diamond". Maclean's. Vol. 118, no. 43. p. 87.
  11. ^ Howell, Peter (December 27, 2021). "Quebec's Jean-Marc Vallée was an impactful filmmaker who swung his sledgehammer softly". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2021-12-28. Retrieved 5 April 2023.
  12. ^ a b Gaudet, Agnès (1 June 2005). "Dur, dur d'obtenir les droits des chansons". Canoe.ca.
  13. ^ a b Alsanjak, Metin (April 2006). "Featured film: C.R.A.Z.Y.". Vertigo. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-12.
  14. ^ "Le Festival de Cannes présente la liste des films en compétition". The Canadian Press. 19 April 2005.
  15. ^ Dinoff, Distin (15 May 2006). "Vallée to release third – yes third – DVD of C.R.A.Z.Y." Playback. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  16. ^ Léa Papineau Robichaud, "Vous pourrez voir ou revoir C.R.A.Z.Y. mercredi soir à la télé et sur le web". 7 Jours, December 29, 2021.
  17. ^ "Hot Sheet: Top 5 Canadian films for Feb. 18 to 24, 2022". Playback. March 1, 2022.
  18. ^ Grobar, Matt (May 11, 2022). "Jean-Marc Vallée's 2005 Dramedy 'C.R.A.Z.Y.' To Get First-Ever U.S. Release Via Samuel Goldwyn Films". Deadline Hollywood.
  19. ^ "Vampire dramedy, tribute to late Jean-Marc Vallée set for Venice film sidebar". Toronto Star, July 27, 2023.
  20. ^ Kelly, Brendan (18 July 2005). "Quebec Pix Wow Locals". Variety. Vol. 399, no. 8. p. 8. Retrieved 2023-04-05.
  21. ^ Yakabuski, Konrad (15 November 2005). "They're mad about C.R.A.Z.Y." The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  22. ^ "Genies show love for C.R.A.Z.Y." CBC News. 13 March 2006. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  23. ^ "C.R.A.Z.Y. 2009 Re-release". Box Office Mojo.
  24. ^ "C.R.A.Z.Y.". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  25. ^ "C.r.a.z.y." Metacritic.
  26. ^ Walker, Susan (25 November 2005). "Movies". The Toronto Star. p. D08.
  27. ^ Bilodeau, Martin (21 May 2005). "C.R.A.Z.Y. ou la vérité folle d'un amour fou". Le Devoir (in French). Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  28. ^ Tong, Allan (1 November 2005). "C.R.A.Z.Y." Exclaim!. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  29. ^ Beardsworth, Liz (31 March 2006). "C.R.A.Z.Y. Review". Empire. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  30. ^ Weissberg, Jay (13 September 2005). "Review: 'C.R.A.Z.Y.'". Variety. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  31. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (22 December 2006). "C.R.A.Z.Y.". Entertainment Weekly. Vol. 912. p. 77.
  32. ^ Woolley, Jamie (11 April 2006). "C.R.A.Z.Y. (2006)". BBC. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  33. ^ "Topping the list: Canada's cinematic achievements". National Post. December 14, 2005.
  34. ^ "Atanarjuat voted No. 1 Canadian film of all time". CBC News. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  35. ^ Adam, James (15 November 2005). "Quebec's C.R.A.Z.Y picks up U.S. film prize". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  36. ^ "C.R.A.Z.Y. scores again at Atlantic Film Festival". The Globe and Mail. 26 September 2005. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  37. ^ McKay, John (13 March 2006). "Jean-Marc Vallee's C.R.A.Z.Y. wins big at 2006 Genie awards". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  38. ^ Hopewell, John (5 December 2005). "'Ultranova' tops Gijon". Variety. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  39. ^ Hays, Matthew (3 April 2006). "C.R.A.Z.Y. sweeps Jutras, as expected". Playback. Archived from the original on 6 March 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  40. ^ "Prix et nominations : Lumières de la presse étrangère 2007". AlloCiné (in French). Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  41. ^ "Past Festivals: MIFF 2007". Maine International Film Festival. Archived from the original on August 16, 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  42. ^ "C.R.A.Z.Y." Canadian Film Encyclopedia. Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 5 April 2023.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]