this is the business we’ve chosen,” and when you’re living in a dark, depressed world, running a suicide shop is pretty good business. Such is the case with Patrice Leconte’s The Suicide Shop, a French animated musical with a less-than-subtle commentary about desensitization and enjoying the finer things in life. Featured in this year’s TIFF, the flick opens officially tonight at TIFF Bell Lightbox.">

Movie Review: The Suicide Shop


Published:

As the famed adage goes, “this is the business we’ve chosen,” and when you’re living in a dark, depressed world, running a suicide shop is pretty good business. Such is the case with Patrice Leconte’s The Suicide Shop, a French animated musical with a less-than-subtle commentary about desensitization and enjoying the finer things in life. Featured in this year’s TIFF, the flick opens officially tonight at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The Tuvache family runs the titular store, helping people meet their end with convenience and individuality, while making a few bucks in the process. They sell nooses and poisons, knives and cement shoes, working prodigiously to keep up with a high suicide rate (one every 40 minutes) in a world of perpetual rain and sorrow.

In a cheerfully dark opening number, we meet the Tuvaches, who appear as distant cousins of the Addams family: the quiet, ashen son; the gothic daughter who has her suicide requests denied; and the buxom, bespectacled icy mother. Then there is Monsieur Tuvache, a sullen-eyed, pencil-thin, mustachioed gent with the deathly sneer of a used car salesman.

There is no laughing in this household, or any, for that matter, in this endless grey world. That is until Madame Tuvache gives birth to a baby boy, Alan, who has all of the unbridled and unburdened optimism, joy and purity a child should have.

Try as his family might to stop him, young Alan, with his bright eyes and toothy smiles, laughs, dances and sings — he even does nice things for his family. His boyish idealism remains unsullied: neither rain nor clouds can affect it, nor the death of anyone his school bus runs over, and his optimism slowly starts to infect those around him. Unlike his father, he is not in the business of killing people.

Even at 80 minutes, the film feels long; its clever concept and musical interludes only capture your attention for so long. It’s both funny and odd to hear about rules regarding suicide in this world, and the strange lines people draw to better help themselves cope with their own existences, but those curiosities only last for so long.

The idea that Alan will not be ruled by the finality of life and all of its hardships is hammered home without much catharsis or surprise, but the film offers some interesting visuals and engaging original songs that, thankfully, are not to die for.

The Suicide Shop, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W., 416-599-8433. Nov. 30 - Dec. 6

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Too Close to Call: Toronto’s frightful faceoff

Too Close to Call: Toronto’s frightful faceoff

In one corner, Dracula from Casa Loma’s Legends of Horror, in the other, Canada’s Wonderland’s Little Dead Riding Hood. Who reigns supreme in this T.O. Halloween creep-out contest?
Posted 3 days ago
Work Out with Monika: Taking out your fall frustrations on a punching bag

Work Out with Monika: Taking out your fall frustrations on a punching bag

Studies have shown that training for a boxing match can be one of the best forms of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. I’m here to find out.
Posted 3 days ago
Is this the ‘Forgotten Corner of Thornhill’?

Is this the ‘Forgotten Corner of Thornhill’?

A building complex, Glen Park Apartments, at the northeast corner of Yonge Street and Clark Avenue is now deemed the “Forgotten Corner of Thornhill” by some residents. A new Facebook page of the same name was established in late July, calling for city officials and building management to address concerns over lack of sufficient infrastructure.
Posted 3 days ago
From Parris with Love

From Parris with Love

Other Side of the Game, premiering on Oct. 18 at the Aki Studio at Daniels Spectrum and running until Nov. 5.
Posted 3 days ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module