The Trotsky

Jay Baruchel is one of the best young actors around. During the last few years, the 29 year old former child actor has been creating a name for himself, playing roles in movies that have been varied and diversified his resume. Among one of them roles is that of Leon Bronstein, a high school kid who is utterly convinced that he is the incarnate of Russian political leader Leon Trostky. That is what the theme of this movie, The Trotsky is all about. Don’t really see a lot of movies like this, eh?

Directed by Jacob Tierney, this Canadian flick set in Montreal also stars Saul Rubinek as Leon’s clothing factory owner dad David, Anne-Marie Cadieux as his sympathetic & loving step-mom, Emily Hampshire as Alexandra an older graduate student who becomes the love interest, Colm Feore as the principle of a public school & Geneviève Bujold as the school board’s chairperson. Leon messes things up by staging a foiled hunger strike outside his dad’s factory along with some reluctant workers and claiming that they needed a union. His dad has him taken away by the cops and this causes a rift between father and son. Leon’s sister is quite taken by her brother’s protests and she often joins in on them.

Leon’s main purpose in life is to have his life lived out quite similar to that of Trotsky and among one of the steps is that he has to fall in love with & marry an older woman named Alexandra, just like the Russian did. He finds such a woman in 27 year old Alexandra, the daughter of a lawyer he goes to for counsel. Meanwhile, fed up with his son’s behaviour, David takes Leon out of boarding school and enrolls him for his final year in a public school. However at this new school, after standing up to the unfairly strict vice-principle for some harsh detention, Leon gets some students to join a new union in order for the students to have equal representation. In a memorable scene, they organize a student walk out, much to the chagrin of Principle Berkoff.

Leon manages to get Alexandra to go on a ‘date’ with him and much to her surprise, not only does she start liking him but they also have sex one night. Alexandra finds out that she is reluctantly falling in love with a boy, 10 years her junior and confesses to her friend Laura (Jessica Pare) about her feelings. Leon soon becomes something of a local celebrity, being on the news and interviewed by Ben Mulrooney. However he creation of his union is shut down by the school board and later he & Alexandra fight. Leon manages to get things back in action by staging an abduction of the principle and demanding to the school board that the students need a union. He is later thwarted and arrested but his charges were dropped on one condition – he has to move out of Quebec to complete his studies.

Alexandra supports him and Leon patches things with his father. He leaves his family to go and finish school in Ontario. In the last scene of the movie he goes to seek out a person called Vladimir Ulyanov, which was Lenin’s birth name. In order to complete his re-living of Trotsky’s life, Leon needed to meet a person of the same name as Lenin. Thus ends a funny, witty & intelligent movie. I’d suggest that you watch it and experience a different take on the normal disillusioned but well meaning teenager story. 7 out of 10.

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