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An upper middle-class French family celebrates a birthday in a restaurant. In one evening and during one meal, family history, tensions, collective and separate grudges, delights, and memories both clash and coalesce. Written by
Eileen Berdon <email@example.com>
A Compassionate Klieg Light on "Familliar" Dysfunction
I was enthralled by this filmed play of an evening in the life of a family driven to a peak of "dysfunction," but through it all held together by the glue of love, however imperfect (as it always is).
The movie is a comedy in the sense that it makes you laugh at, with, and sometimes in spite of the kaleidoscopic display of personal and interpersonal flaws, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities that it illuminates through its crack cast of closely observed and defined characters. Few if any of them fails to reveal a different side to their personality with each turn of the kaleidoscope. These are complex people - just like the real kind. And the fact that the script, the camera, and the direction simultaneously lay bare their suffering/insufferable humanity (and their unique virtues) while evoking sympathy, fondness, and identification with each one of them is what, to my mind, raises Un Air de Famille from the level of good artistry to that of redeeming social value: art with a heart.
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