A great 90's dramedy about social issues, still relevant today
Gerard Jugnot is a very famous French actor, writer and director, whose fame and creativity both peaked in the late 80's-early 90's. "Une Epoque Formidable" (litterally: "Wonderful Times") is a very caustic tale of misfortune, midlife crisis, and social issues like homelessness in the France of the 1990's.
The film follows Michel (Jugnot) a forty-something average Joe, living in middle-class suburbs with his wife (Victoria Abril) and children. Hiding the fact that he lost his job and afraid of facing the consequences in an unemployment-ridden society, he ends up rejected by his wife, wandering endlessly in the hoodlums of Paris, hopelessly trying to put himself together in order to win back his former life. Facing humiliations and loneliness, he miraculously finds an helping hand with Toubib (the then great Richard Bohringer), Crayon (the late Ticky Holgado - last seen in "Amelie") and Mimosa (Chick Ortega). Together, they'll find a way to face the wind and even have a few good laughs, despite their condition...
This film is truly a gem among the (mostly) boring and uninspired French cinema of the past 20 years. It has scope, it's ambitious, with wonderful performances from everybody. And above all, it never forgets to be damn funny and witty. Of course there is some gross humour, and the direction is a little bland, but it's nothing compared to the humanity and refreshing lack of cynicism that transpires from this movie.
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