A divorced mother of two boys reaching adulthood decides to sell their house, find love and get on with her life away from her husband and boys, a decision that will lead to an escalating fraternal dispute.
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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
Look, i told you not to come here any more. Don't come round any more, full stop. Just transfer the money. Meet wherever you want, but not here.
Pascale, i'm not a bank. And i can still see them, can't i? Are we going to have a fight because i came to see the kids?
No, but do i go and do my stuff at your place?
I bought this house. Without my money, who knows where you'd be?
If you want to see your father, you'll have to do it somewhere else.
I still have a right to see them, God damn it!
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The French film, "Private Property," sets up a fierce battle of wills between a divorced mother and the two ne'er-do-well sons (fraternal twins) who still live with her. Pascale wants to sell the house and open up a bed-and-breakfast with her new boyfriend, but the young men, fearing the loss of the property that they believe should rightly go to them, attempt to block any efforts in that direction.
With intelligent direction by Joachim Lafosse and incisive writing by Lafosse and Francois Pirot, this low-keyed family drama explores the complexities inherent in filial, sibling and marital relationships. The confrontation scenes, many of which take place during meal times (come to think of it, I don't believe I've seen this much eating in a film since "Babette's Feast"), are sharply drawn and effectively staged. The acting is excellent across the board, particularly that of Isabelle Huppert, as the middle-aged woman determined to finally start living for herself, and Jeremy Renier, as the more belligerent and self-centered of her two sons. Yannick Renier, Jeremy's brother in real life, is also very good as the more passive of the twins.
Some viewers may feel let down and frustrated by the inconclusive ending, but I enjoyed the ambiguity of it. We have been made privy to just one brief episode in the lives of these people - then it's time for us to move on.
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