Although the Festival du nouveau cinéma commenced two days ago, this is the first movie from this festival that I review. To be honest with you, I wasn't necessarily attracted by this film since I'm not a fan of teenager comedies. However, despite a few weak spots here and there, you won't regret buying tickets for The Trotsky if you're in for a funny comedy.
Leon Blonstein (Jay Baruchel) is a son of a rich factory owner (Saul Rubinek). Moreover, Leon firmly believes that he's the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky, one of the founding fathers of the Soviet Union. Because he motivated the workers of his dad's factory to go on strike, Leon is temporarily kept under custody by the police. Later, to get problems solved, his dad decides to take him out of a boarding school in order to send him in a public English-speaking high school from the West of Montreal helmed by Henry Berkhoff (Colm Feore), the school's authoritative principal.
However, once there, Leon will try to convince his schoolmates that all students from the school must unionize. Outside of school, Leon is also courting Alexandra (Emily Hampshire), a 27-years-old chick who recently got her PhD in Law from McGill University, whether she likes it or not. Besides, Alexandra already has a boyfriend and loathes Leon because he looks phony. After all, Leon can't even get students from his school to get interested by the fact that they're being poorly treated by their teachers.
Obviously, as a comedy, The Trotsky is as funny as (if not funnier) a Hollywood comedy mostly because it avoids to be vulgar. Given that Jacob Tierney, the scriptwriter and the director of the film, wanted to make you laugh through the dialogues, he can say: "Mission accomplished". This goes without saying that the exchanges between Leon and those who are opposed to him (his dad or his school's principal to name a few) are among the best illustrations of antagonistic relations I've ever seen in a film.
Besides, the director is so lucky to get a rising star like Jay Baruchel. With the good support from other members of the cast, Baruchel, with his enthusiasm, manages to carry the whole film on his shoulder. In addition to that, although his character may seem antipathetic (because of his fascination for a man who contributed to the birth of one of the most brutal political regime), Baruchel manages to bring to the surface Leon's desire to prove that he's animated by the true spirit of a revolutionary.
Unfortunately, the problem with The Trotsky is that its love story is cheesy. However, one can forgive the clumsiness of its elaboration by Tierney. In fact, this love story is cleverly used in order to make us see whether Alexandra will come to respect Leon or not. Besides, the movie doesn't lose focus despite having a love story. The second problem is that the film complacently portrays the true Trotsky by leaving aside the fact that he contributed in building a brutal political regime. However, you may consider forgiving the film since it's just a comedy meant for entertainment.
Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire, Saul Rubinek, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Tommie-Amber Pirie, Jesse Camacho, Michael Murphy and Colm Feore