The Trotsky leaves farce at the door

Star Jay Baruchel delivers an irony-free performance that gives the film its heart.

Don't be fooled by the title or the premise---The Trotsky is neither a political screed nor a broad farce, despite the fact that it concerns a Montreal teenager who thinks he's the reincarnation of communist hero Leon Trotsky. With help from star Jay Baruchel and a cast of fine Canadian actors, writer-director Jacob Tierney has instead constructed a warm, witty comedy about adolescence and collective action. Leon Bronstein is both brilliant and delusional, but Baruchel's irony-free performance lends the character credibility and gives the movie its heart. Tierney's restrained approach prevents some scenes from reaching their comic potential, yet The Trotsky's fearless intelligence---this is a movie that gets its laughs from Eisenstein references and zingers like "Are you my Stalin" ---more than makes up for its flaws.

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