Gabrielle, a developmentally challenged young woman, lives in a group home specifically designed for adults with disabilities. A talented musician, Gabrielle routinely expresses herself through song but her lack of independence in her own life is growing increasingly frustrating. When Gabrielle falls in love with Martin, a similarly challenged young man from her music class, things reach a breaking point. Martin's mother and the social workers are alarmed by their romance, questioning if these two young people can handle a relationship. Louise Archambault's Gabrielle is a solid film that doesn't falter under the typical "message movie" cliches which make many films of this sort nearly unwatchable. There is no forced sentimentality in Gabrielle, with the film instead focusing on empowering people with disabilities instead of feeling sorry for them. Gabrielle is a fully realized character and much of the film chronicles her constant struggle of living with a disability, but much like Gabrielle herself, the film never makes this disability an excuse for not being able to live and appreciate life to the fullest. This is a film more about empowerment than anything and the films' ideas are refreshing and nicely realized. Gabrielle argues that setting lower standards for handicapped people, while good-intentioned, can be just as critical and detrimental to their development as treating them harshly. Featuring a great lead performance by Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, Gabrielle is a heart-warming love story that effectively makes the viewer root for its main protagonist, doing so in a way that never feels cheap or forced.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.