Heartbeats is a stylish and thoughtful film about the expectations of unrequited love, the deception and pettiness of competition and the selfishness of someone accustomed to being the center of attention. And all of this comes in a packaging with lush photography and subtle dialogue, from sophomore director Xavier Dolan who also stars in the film.
The film follows friends Marie (Monia Chokri) and Francis (Dolan). When they both meet and fall for the same guy (Niels Schneider), neither is willing to admit it. Instead, they both begin pursuing him, continually caught attempting a secret rendezvous until it is clear that each has motives beyond friendship. What isn’t clear is how the guy feels about each of them, or even what his sexual preference is.
Although the storyline moves at a slow pace, this is not a boring film. Both Marie and Francis read into every single gesture from their crush, and we are slowed to down to notice these subtle moments also. Some are very clear, whereas others are twisted in the minds of the idealistic young romantics, and shattered when brought back to reality.