What You Need To Know:
(H, A/D, L, N, SSS, VVV) Humanistic worldview complete with: substance abuse; 4 or 5 obscenities; scene of cat being killed on a dare; scene of Leo attempting to murder his grandfather; scene of two boys fornicating with the same girl; masturbation; urination & defecation; and, many grotesque & offensive scenes.
The French film LEOLO begins with the title character urinating off the balcony of his family’s tenement–and it is all downhill from there. This is the deeply tragic and disturbing story of Leo Lozeau, a sensitive, imaginative boy who is so repulsed by the madness of his family and the squalor of his surroundings that he escapes into a fantasy world. Changing his identity, he calls himself Leolo Lozone and dreams of Sicily where he is in the company of Bianca, the beautiful Italian girl he watches from his window in real life. Leo’s mother is convinced that “A s–t a day will keep the doctor away,” and we get to see a close-up of this obese lady sitting on the toilet encouraging her son to “Push, like Mama.” We get to see a lot of other things as well: rats crawling over dishes; Leo arousing himself with a piece of steak (which his mother later cooks); and, the inside of the asylum where most of Leo’s family are kept.
Critic Janet Maslin has hailed LEOLO as a “real crowd-pleaser,” but the only crowd this film is likely to please is that exclusive group of critics whose idiosyncratic tastes lure gullible patrons into art-houses to watch characters whom they would feel uncomfortable sitting next to on the subway.