Best movies by director Xavier Dolan, ranked

Xavier Dolan was born in Montreal and began his career as a child actor. He would later become famous for having directed several arthouse films, starting with 2009 I killed my mother. Since his early days as a director, Dolan has produced a series of blockbuster and critically acclaimed films with an instantly recognizable style. Dolan has been hailed as a contemporary professional in the field of French-Canadian cinema, and his style explores themes of gender, sexuality, self-discovery and love in a way that feels fresh.

Dolan is a force in cinema, easily adopting the role of director, actor, screenwriter, costume designer and editor, even lending his talents to dubbing. Although he stars outside of his own films, Dolan is widely known for his talents as a director. Indeed, he has cultivated a filmography like no other, so here is an overview of the best films of Xavier Dolan as a director, ranked.

8 The Death and Life of John F. Donovan


2018 by Xavier Dolan The Death and Life of John F. Donovan marked his first directorial effort in English. The film takes place in three different sequences which are scattered throughout the film: one showing a young actor who remembers a correspondence he shared with a television actor who has since passed away, and the other two depicting the life of these two characters at the time of the correspondence. The film was highly anticipated and features a star-studded ensemble including Kit Harington, Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman and Kathy Bates. The film was not as well received as others in Dolan’s repertoire, but Dolan’s personal style can still be felt throughout the film.

seven It’s only the end of the world

Son of Manuel; MK2 Productions

It’s only the end of the world was released in 2016 and is based on the play of the same name by Jean-Luc Lagarce. The story of the film ultimately revolves around a young playwright who reunites with his family after a long absence and informs them that he is going to die. The film received mixed reviews, but showcases Dolan’s excellent exploration of themes such as self-discovery and class stereotypes in an awkward and engaging way. The cast is particularly strong, with the main actors Gaspard Ulliel, Nathalie Baye and Vincent Cassel delivering memorable and moving performances.

6 Matthias & Maxime

Matthias and Maxime

The next addition to the list is for 2019 Matthias & Maxime. This is one of the many films in Dolan’s filmography which also showcases his acting and directorial talents, this time taking the lead role of Maxime. The story tells the story of two young men who get involved in a student movie that forces them to share a kiss. Matthias & Maxime takes a simple subject matter and uses Dolan’s specialties in camera techniques and strong dialogue to evoke feelings of nostalgia resulting in a beautiful story of vulnerability.

5 Tom at the farm

Tom at the farm

2013 Tom at the farm was another addition to Dolan’s catalog where he both performed and directed. The film is based on the play of the same name by Michel Marc Bouchard and received high critical acclaim. Dolan plays a young man who goes to an isolated farm for a funeral and is drawn into a sexual dynamic by his lover’s brother, played by Pierre-Yves Cardinal. The themes of sexuality and repression are treated in typical Dolan style, making it an intense visual experience.

4 Heart beat

heart beat

Heart beat was one of the first additions to the Dolan movie collection and tells the story of two friends who fall in love with the same person. Dolan plays the role of Francis, who competes with his best friend Marie (Monia Chokri) for the affection of Nicolas (Niels Schneider). The film is comical in its tone and feels different from other Dolan films. In fact, Dolan was inspired by the romantic hit of Wong Kar-wai. Love mood.

Related: Best Wong Kar-Wai Movies, Ranked

3 Laurence anyway

Laurence in any case

Laurence anyway released in 2012 and tells the story of a transgender woman’s relationship with her lover over a period of 10 years, documenting the challenges and prejudices they faced as a result of her transition. Laurence anyway is unique because it showcases connections between people and how transsexuality influences or does not influence these relationship dynamics, while also focusing on the beauty of intimacy in a way that feels unique.

2 I killed my mother

I killed my mother

Xavier Dolan made his debut with 2009’s I killed my mother, and it’s easy to see why this film remained one of his most beloved films, even years after its release. I killed my mother was Dolan’s first film as a director, and is semi-autobiographical, depicting the difficult relationship between a mother and her son. The film received international recognition and introduced us to Dolan’s captivating style, portraying raw, real emotion onscreen with a vision that always remains clear.

1 mom


that of Xavier Dolan mom arrived in 2014, telling the story of a mother’s relationship with her teenage son and his struggles as he turns to violence and destruction. Anne Dorval plays Diane, Steve’s mother (played by Antoine Olivier Pilon), and the struggles of their relationship as she desperately tries to keep her son from being institutionalized make this a fascinating watch steeped in raw emotion and powerful performance. Mom was a critical success and showcases Dolan’s talent through hard-hitting dialogue and cutting-edge director choices.

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