Kind of European version of a "road movie"
lazarillo from Denver, Colorado and Santiago, Chile
10 February 2013
Five French college-age youths decide to take a backpacking trip around
Europe, riding in trains and staying in low-rent hostels. It's an
experience probably all young Europeans and probably no small number of
young Americans have had, but this group is even more broke and has
even more misadventures than usual. The youths are the typical types:
One girl (Ludivine Sagnier) is vivacious and flirty (which gets her in
trouble on several occasions but she keeps doing it). One of the boys
is attracted to Sagnier's character, but also questions his sexual
identity after he meets a former teacher who's gay. Then there's a
bickering male-female couple--the male is the anal-retentive one who
tries to map out the whole trip (with disastrous results) while his
long-suffering girlfriend flirts with infidelity. Finally, there is a
sullen, big-boned girl who is a bit of a waistoid and kleptomaniac (not
to mention, apparently not fully house-broken).
They're not, overall, a very likable bunch. They wreck a houseboat
they're staying in for no real reason and TWICE pull the emergency
brake on a train (which I would think would have more serious legal
consequences). They have to depend on--and then usually take advantage
of--the kindness of strangers. Still, this is a pretty light and breezy
movie and it's hard to take anything that happens here very seriously.
The characters all learn "lessons", but this is a pretty trite film and
they're pretty trite lessons.
There's not nearly as much sex in this as there is in your usual French
film (aside from a few bare breasts it would be PG-13 in America). This
is not really a problem though, and is only regrettable in that
Ludivine Sagnier was about the cutest and sexiest thing around back
then, but then you're really better off watching the early films she
did with Francois Ozon ("Water Drops on Burning Rocks" and "Swimming
Pool") for a lot of reasons. Sagnier is still pretty hot stuff
(witnessd by her recent portrayal of Uday Hussein's mistress in "The
Devil's Double") and has become quite a good actress (witnessed by her
performance in "Love Crimes" and a couple Claude Chabrol movies). She's
not bad here, but she's pretty much on the same level as everyone else.
The BEST reason to watch this, at any rate, isn't the great acting,
character development, or the profound "life lessons", but rather the
European scenery and landmarks and the fun spirit-of-adventure of a
what is really a kind of European "road movie".
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