Death of a Ladies’ Man (2020)

Using the songs of Leonard Cohen, reflections on love and life hit many bittersweet notes in Death of a Ladies’ Man.

Sam O’Shea (Gabriel Byrne) is a professor living in Montreal. After he finds his wife cheating on him, he is well on his way to his second divorce. Sam’s no angel himself, having several affairs, and can’t seem to learn from his mistakes. At his son’s hockey game, he sees a full-on musical number and is visited by his dead father, Ben (Brian Gleeson). The next day, Sam and his daughter Josée (Karelle Tremblay) are served lunch by a bodybuilder with a tiger’s head. These hallucinations force him to see his doctor, where he sidesteps his drinking problem and soon learns he has an inoperable brain tumour. Not heeding the doctor’s warning, Sam continues to drink, hides his fate from his ex-wife Genevieve (Suzanne Clément) and children, and visions urge him to follow his dreams. Heading to Ireland to write his great North American novel under the watchful eye of his father’s ghost, Sam meets a beautiful young woman named Charlotte (Jessica Paré), and he’ll learn just how much his family needs him.

Death of a Ladies’ Man is a surreal look at mortality with a musical twist. With dance numbers to the melancholy tunes of Montreal’s patron saint Cohen, dry gallows humour from Byrne and Gleeson, and Quebec star power with Clément and Paré, this genre-defying story keeps you watching for the next unexpected twist. Director Matt Bissonnette uses the beauty of Montreal as a backdrop for the moody, dark comedy about a man coming to terms with his life.

Review by Carolyn Mauricette


Jessica Paré, Suzanne Clément

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Canadian connection

Written and directed by Matt Bissonnette
Montreal, Quebec
The film is named after Leonard Cohen's fifth album, recorded in 1977.