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Hilde Nyeggen Martinsen,
Willy, a middle-aged divorcee, decides to take his 15 year-old son, Thomas, on holiday to Ibiza, staying at an isolated villa on the unspoilt part of the coast. Thomas insists on bringing his friend Juliette, a girl of his own age with whom he enjoys a close platonic relationship. When it comes to physical love, Juliette is wise beyond her years. She will only sleep with men older than herself and has no intention of committing herself to a long-term relationship. As the holiday progresses, Juliette realises that Willy is attracted to her. She confides in Thomas that she will seduce his father and then reject him, in the hope that she can rid herself of his unwelcome attentions. Unaware of this subterfuge, Willy is torn between his physical attraction towards the teenage girl and his love for his son... Written by
Juliette, a fifteen year old girl, is an unusual young woman. She is seeing Thomas, a friend from school, with whom she has been planning a holiday in Formentera, an island that is part of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. For that purpose, she must convince her parents it will be safe for her to go, but first she must try to charm Thomas' father, Willy, who will accompany them on the trip.
The idyllic setting lends itself for romance. Juliette and Thomas fall into a leisurely routine. Willy, who stays out of the teenagers way, cannot help but admiring his son's friend. Juliette, in fact, develops an interest for the older Willy, who is at first reluctant to have anything with Juliette, who could easily be her daughter. Juliette plays with fire when she flirts with the older man. She has no idea what she gets herself into, as Willy craves for the sweetness and youth in the girl.
Jacques Doillon directed and co-wrote the screen treatment for this 1989 film with Jean-Francois Goyet and Arlette Langmann. In many ways, the film reminded this viewer of some of Erich Rohmer's movies because of the structure and the way Mr. Doillon presents the story. Like in some of Mr. Rohmer's work, the heroine is witty, intelligent, and resourceful. Juliette has set her mind about what she intends to do, even before she gets to the island. Carrying her purpose takes the whole film, which at times, can be too talky for audiences that might want a bit more action than the picture offers.
Judith Godreche showed she had a tremendous talent back in 1989, when the film was made. She has kept that promise through her work in the French cinema. Her Juliette shows an innate intelligence that shows in her work. Jacques Doillon, the director, appears as Willy, an older man who gets dazzled by the freshness and beauty of his son's friend. Young Melvil Poupaud's Thomas is perhaps too immature to stand against the more worldly Juliette, a young woman clearly way beyond her years.
The beautiful setting of the island is shown in all its splendor by the cinematographer Caroline Champentier.
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