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Since Luc granted a divorce to Pascale ten years ago, he paid generous alimony and left a fine country house as long as their twin sons remain at home. Pascale always acted as if she was the provider and head of the household, even now the inseparable brothers are twenty. But she started a secret affair with Flemish neighbor, cook Jan, whose ambition is to start a restaurant and B&B with her. As the boys learn she wants to cancel her job and sell the house for the project, college-man Thierry, who has a steady girl Anne, naturally refuses to let her spend dad's money meant for them. Gentler François, content to remain a handyman, would consider letting her and maybe working in the 'family business'. This causes trouble, even after Pascale moves out to Gerda's indefinitely, leading to tragedy. Written by
As a parent of three children, ages 16 to 20, I can say unequivocally that this wonderfully acted and deftly written and directed little film captures more about the relationships between modern youth and their baby-boomer parents than a dozen sociological tracts or studies could ever hope to achieve. On one level, the two sons are simply over-indulged, self-pitying and foul-mouthed brats, but that is far from the whole story. They are victims too, of a society in which self-fulfillment trumps parental duty and parents think that they can buy the loyalty and affection of their children with money and material goods. Not that this family is especially prosperous - in fact, they live an essentially hand to mouth existence, but still enjoy most of the fruits of modern Western culture - motorbikes, video games, etc. Isabelle Huppert is terrific as the long-suffering mother who is unable to confront her own children for fear of alienating them completely, so much so that she has to recruit a surrogate in an attempt to break through to them. Although the film is set in France the chords it strikes are universal. It makes you angry, frustrated and occasionally just overwhelmed - much like being parent of teenage boys.
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