La vie quand même (LIFE AFTER ALL) is another film in a series collectively called 'Tales from the Orphanage'. The story is simple on the surface (children coping with the sudden loss of parents), but in the hands of writer Sophie Tasma and director Olivier Péray this storyline unfolds a tale of brotherly love that is well worth watching.
The film opens with a family argument between father (Laurent Olmédo) and mother (Françoise Michaud), a scene that is apparently routine in this disturbed household. But this time the couple's two children 18-year-old Vincent (Mathieu Tribes) and 11-year-old Lucien (Maxime Monsimier) not only overhear the fight but Vincent defies his father in a stringent manner. The mother attempts to assuage the situation as the parents are leaving on a trip. But once the parents leave they are killed in an accident and the two boys are informed of the abrupt loss. Vincent loves Lucien and vows to remain his legal guardian so that Lucien will not be placed in a foster home or orphanage.
The two boys react differently to their new life without parents: 1) Vincent begins to sleep with his girlfriend Jessica (Clémence Poésy) and at the same time tries to lose his thoughts in a consignation with longtime neighbor Marion (Marianne Basler), all the while dealing with social workers, convincing them he is a fit guardian for Lucien. and 2) Lucien begins to act out his pain in antisocial behavior, following a delusional path that his parents are not only still alive but are still at home with Lucien and Vincent.
How each brother works through the guilt (Vincent) and broken spirit (Lucien) of the loss of their parents forms the line of the conclusion of the film. The power of brotherly love is palpable and manages to provide avenues of coping with tragic loss.
The film's weakness is in the pacing of the story with too much time being devoted to Vincent's escapades and insufficient development of Lucien's character and transformation. Despite these flaws this is a touching film of significant situational reactions played in a realistic manner. In French with English subtitles.
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