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L'enfant d'eau (1995)

 -  Drama  -  1 September 1995 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 149 users  
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A small plane crashes in the Caribbean, leaving only two survivors: a precocious teenage girl and a simple-minded grown-up. They end up on a desert island, with no inhabitants and no rescue... See full summary »

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Title: L'enfant d'eau (1995)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Emile
Marie-France Monette ...
Cendrine
...
Thomas
...
Pauline
Monique Spaziani ...
Suzanne
Michel Charette ...
Firmin
Matthew Dupuis ...
Emile at 6
Manon Gauthier ...
Irène
Anne-Marie Laliberté ...
Audrey
Chantal Monfils ...
Flight attendant
Pierre Pinchiaroli ...
Clerk
Caroline Samson-Aubry ...
Mathilde
Julien Villeneuve ...
Robert
Bill Isherwood ...
Businessman
Donna Klinge ...
Woman on the ship
Edit

Storyline

A small plane crashes in the Caribbean, leaving only two survivors: a precocious teenage girl and a simple-minded grown-up. They end up on a desert island, with no inhabitants and no rescue in sight, and split. Then, a friendship bond develops between the two. The teenager, realizing she may not live long enough to see this experience, and the grown-up, never faced with this reality, soon fall in love. Written by Sergio Ortega

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

1 September 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Behind the Blue  »

Box Office

Gross:

CAD 346,852 (Canada)
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User Reviews

 
Rather Uncompelling Drama, Failing To Bring Its Themes Full Circle
5 August 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

These types of films involving castaways who are somehow stranded on an island are always interesting to look into, to see what those involved came up with, simply because they're so formulaic. This film is definitely no different, largely in part due to the fact that we don't see the moments building up to the accident or the accident itself, which would by far have added to the film, though at least the back story of Emil is well developed. All we see is Emil hauling Sendrine to a life raft where lies only the body of a lifeless fat man in a rather unconvincing scene. The idea that a life raft would have been freed by someone after the accident but no one aside from one man who conveniently happened to suddenly drop dead from who knows what, JUST after the accident which is clearly when Emil and Sendrine would have had to crawl aboard it, is ridiculously contrived in order to have them be the only two from the accident to be washed on shore of the island.

This film clearly had a low budget which is no surprise for a Canadian film. However what I find makes the film mediocre is how the drama is developed. We do see a bit of chemistry between the two characters but ultimately the screenplay was very poorly conceived as it doesn't really put the plot to full effect and the end result is the story feels very aloof especially in how it uses the narration of Sendrine presumably from her diary, although we never actually see her write in it, rather than actually developing more of what the characters are thinking and feeling through their interactions.

They interact basically on a "pet and master" sort of level which makes it feel very contrived how Sendrine eventually grows to love Emil in a big way. Understandably Emil is mentally retarded and will not interact with people normally, but even his character comes across as somewhat of a caricature, though still by no means laughably so. Chiefly, when trying to portray a mentally handicapped individual and having them constantly refer to themselves in the third person for example, this is something you only need to do as a last resort if the actors are unable to fully portray a mentally handicapped individual without the use of gimmicks, which is something you get in a lot of films to be honest.

In terms of Sendrine and Emils relationship, I think the biggest mistake was to try to develop it into a sexual relationship when they clearly weren't prepared to follow through with it. I'm not even sure what happened. Essentially, they started off hugging, both fully clothed, and she began rubbing up against him in a sexual manner, clearly in no position to be engaging in sexual relations, then they stop, the characters react strangely to this, and the result is utter confusion. Did they have sex? Did Sendrine get pregnant? All I know is women cannot get pregnant from sitting on toilet seats and the like. Clearly they had to take some precautions with this type of scene, but to me, the subject being controversial in no way alters the fact that any film afraid of its own subject is ultimately a failure, whatever the subject is. As bad as the "sex" scene itself is the buildup. There IS no real relational buildup to it, other than a lifeless diary quotation. It just happens abruptly, and seemed very "tacked on" Ultimately they would have done better to work on developing a stronger sense of "mother/son" type of relationship, which actually was successful to a degree.

Essentially, all the above points are reasons why the film is O.K. but by no means great. It is a low budget film, the director was clearly out of his depth, and despite the actors being decent, they don't have much of a script to work with, which is essential for any film which is carried solely by 2 characters. Some people may enjoy this film, but I found it ultimately disappointing and laughable in places, which is unfortunate because the premise had potential.


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