Louise Archambault’s smart and refreshing debut feature Familia marked the arrival of an extraordinary new talent in Canadian film. Delivering on the promise of her earlier work, Gabrielle is a stunning, tender film about a developmentally challenged young woman’s quest for independence and sexual freedom.
Living in a group home, musically talented Gabrielle (Gabrielle Marion-Rivard) has found love in Martin (Alexandre Landry), a fellow member in a choir for developmentally disabled adults. Gabrielle and Martin want to explore their feelings for one another physically, but are not allowed. Convinced that living alone will allow her to have the intimate relationship she so desperately craves, Gabrielle tries valiantly to prove she can be independent.
As she did with Familia, Archambault displays her keen ability to distil the emotional currents of families at a crossroads. At the core of this film is the heartfelt performance by Marion-Rivard (who has Williams syndrome in real life). Produced by the team behind Academy Award®-nominated Incendies and Monsieur Lazhar, Gabrielle is a captivating film about tolerance and finding happiness, but, above all, it is a story of love.
Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo
Toronto International Film festival
‘Delightful newcomer Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, who actually has Williams syndrome and plays a semi-autobiographical role, is a natural’
The Hollywood Reporter
Winner, Audience Award, Locarno Film Festival