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A mother's love

8/10
Author: jotix100 from New York
12 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Nicole Doucet, the star chef, and owner of the restaurant bearing her name, receives a jolt as the story begins, when her son, Guillaume, suddenly arrives at the restaurant unannounced. He is definitely on drugs. To complicate matters, he drops a bomb to her mother: he has married an older woman in Las Vegas, something that does not sit well with Nicole. The lady Guillaume married has a big coke addiction. Nicole surprises her new daughter-in-law snorting cocaine in the toilet, something that makes her react violently and throws her out. Guillaume, visibly shaken has some nasty words with his mother before leaving.

When the daughter-in-law is found dead in her apartment, the police comes to arrest Nicole Doucet, something that shocks her. Looking at her, she does not seem capable to committing a crime, and yet, she is taken away to the police station. While being questioned, she maintains her innocence, but the detectives do not believe her. She lands in jail for her non cooperating attitude. The judge that is in charge of her case truly believes Nicole killed the woman. Her initial ten days extend to a prolonged stay of more than six years.

No one can do anything to help Nicole, who at first is clearly shaken by the ordeal of the prison life she encounters. Her cell mate, Maria, is a woman also accused of killing her man. This young woman, hostile, from the start toward the white Nicole, begins changing the way she feels about this woman that will not go away. Nicole, a famous chef, decides to keep the secret that landed her in prison, and at the same time begins a program to help the inmates by teaching them skills the poor women never knew they had.

A movie made for French television, that has a feeling of having been commissioned for the American Lifetime Movie Network, which specializes in enacting real life dramas. Although nothing is made clear, this film, directed by Alain Tasma, shows a different kind of prison drama one is used watching. The film relies heavily in its star, Marthe Keller, the Swiss born actress with a long career in films. It is the strength of her performance and the general atmosphere Mr. Tasma created that made us care not only on Nicole, and her ultimate sacrifice, but in the way she was able to relate to a new life where she had not known.

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