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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 very simple story about people that seem vivid and real
This is exactly the sort of film you'd never see coming from Hollywood, as it has no flashy stars, a very simple script and it's about people and relationships. While this might easily bore teenagers or those who long for explosions or boobies in their films, if you are an adult looking for a movie that doesn't insult your intelligence, then this is a movie for you.
The film's premise is simple. A mother and her three adult children and their spouses get together every Friday night for dinner at the same nearby restaurant each week. However, this night is different because one of the spouses (who you never see in the film) has just walked out and the time-honored tradition is thrown off kilter. It seems that because the usual routine is thrown aside, over the course of the evening, the normally happy family veneer is slowly pulled aside--revealing the ugliness and pettiness of some of them. Interestingly enough, the most interesting character in this whole thing is a non-family member (who works for one of the sons). In a way, he seems almost like an audience member watching the craziness and only later reacting to it. Fortunately, while there are some minor fireworks, all the family problems seem real and you can relate to them--this is NOT a tacky film where one person announces they are getting a sex change or another announces that they are having an affair with a chicken! No, the problems seem real and seething just under the surface. Additionally, how you perceive each family member changes a bit over time as more and more of the veneer is pulled away. One minute you like or are concerned about one of them, the next you want to slap them upside the head--just like a REAL family! I am glad that while the problems were revealed, there were no easy answers or pat resolutions. Like life, at the end, you are left wondering what will transpire next and I sure would love to see a sequel to this excellent picture. Good writing, direction and acting--this is such a simple but well-made little film.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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