By Jeff Labrecque
July 16, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Don’t be afraid of The Barbarian Invasions. Yes, the French Canadian film has subtitles, and it did win acclaim at Cannes. But ”Invasions,” which revisits characters from 1986’s ”Decline of the American Empire,” is a simple story of life’s complications, honestly told by auteur Denys Arcand. Remy (Remy Girard), a womanizing leftist professor, is dying of cancer. His estranged son (Stephane Rousseau), guilted home to make peace, eases his father’s final days by acquiring illegal painkillers and a private hospital suite, and gathering his ex-wife, ex-mistresses, and old friends to say goodbye. Marie-Josee Croze is particularly powerful as Remy’s heroin-addled ”guardian angel.” And as the film unfolds, the tragic beauty of life, death, and love won and lost is philosophically revealed.

EXTRAS Watch the movie before enduring the tedious 50-minute ”Inside The Barbarian Invasions.” The sole bonus, featuring the cast chatting about religion and parenthood, only indulges all the pretentious foreign-film cliches the otherwise grade-A film deftly avoids.

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  • Movie
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mpaa
  • R
runtime
  • 110 minutes
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