A rebellious teenager and a "border-line" young nurse will learn to tame each other and get a fresh start in life.

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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Fred
...
Eugenia
Steven de Almeida ...
Marco
Yves Verhoeven ...
Miguel, le père de Marco / Marco's father
Michel Raskine ...
Le commissaire
Jocelyne Desverchère ...
Rita
Maxime Kathari ...
Jérémy
Sylvie Huguel ...
L'infirmière rousse
Philippe Vuilleumier ...
Le père de Fred
Christian Sinniger ...
L'ami du père
Caryl Minder ...
Garçon tir
Romina Tahami ...
La fille de Rita
Estelle Bealem ...
Renate
Bernard Nissile ...
Le Blessé Ivre
Christophe Sermet ...
André
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A rebellious teenager and a "border-line" young nurse will learn to tame each other and get a fresh start in life.

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30 May 2007 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A Parting Shot  »

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€2,000,000 (estimated)
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1.85 : 1
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Delicate collision: tough turns tender
10 May 2007 | by (Berkeley, California) – See all my reviews

Ia small mountain town Isild Le Besco's character, Fred (Frédérique) is an angry young woman working on the night shift at a hospital. As a nurse, she's efficient but remote. She's fed up with her life. Says she "can't take it any more." When she talks to her cop ex boyfriend André (Christophe Sermet) about leaving town, he makes her even madder when he admits he's already got a new girl living with him. In reaction she picks up two men in a bar and has quick sex with one after the other. "Couldn't you be more tender?" the first asks her.

"Have you heard? I'm not tender," she tells the second ("T'as entendu? J'suis pas douce.") That's the film's original French title: 'Pas Douce'. Not Tender.

Fred is a crack shot, a champion marksman when she was younger. She's also mad at her dad (Philippe Villeumier), a commanding presence and a supervisor at the firing range where she practices. As striking an actress as she is striking looking (when she's properly used), Le Besco is as obsessively angry here as she was obsessively adoring of the famous singer in her role as a naïve fan in Emmanuelle Bercot's 2005 Backstage, but here, though still just in her mid-twenties, she has more authority.

Just when Fred seems to be getting ready to leave town as she's told André she's about to do, throwing away her junior marksman silver cups, she suddenly takes up her rifle and goes out. She's on a hill in the woods when a bunch of school kids walk by below her. Two aggressive boys are yelling at each other. One has a slingshot. He shoots a bird, then when the other boy protests, shoots him and hits him in the eye. Impulsively Fred swings her rifle toward them and fires, hitting the boy with the slingshot in the knee after grazing the boy holding his eye. An ambulance comes. She rushes after it in her car.

The boy with the damaged knee, Marco (Steven De Almeida), is put in the ward where Fred works. After some rough moments on both sides, Fred commits herself to Marco's care. This development is justified in the plot by the fact that he's so hostile and difficult no other nurse wants to deal with him. A relationship develops that tempers the rebellion of both individuals. Fred's plan to leave town goes on hold; she still has to decide what to do about her legal culpability. As Marco's care proceeds, both he and Fred soften. Fred opens up to Marco's divorced parents, including a mother Eugenia (Lio) returned from Portugal, and his dad with whom he lives (Yves Verhoeven). The history of family problems Marco comes from is deftly sketched in, as are several other occupants of the hospital room, always with an alteration in Marco. Marco and Fred relate in part through PlayStation. She's good at that, so she's cooler than he thought.

If you asked what makes 'A Parting Shot' different from something on an American TV series, the quick answer would be Le Besco's breasts. As in Jacquot's recent Untouchable, they're seen and they are beautiful. But there's more to it than that. The initial rebellion is outlined rather quickly for both characters, but the short (83-minute) film still manages to be subtle at showing the emotional changes in both these wild children after the shooting. Perhaps the best thing about the film is it doesn't tie up all its threads neatly as a TV drama might.

Le Besco's pouty manner can be irritating sometimes, but this is a role made to order for her. De Almeida is also excellent. His Marco is a handful but also, behind the anger, winningly vulnerable. Ultimately A Parting Shot, far from not tender, leaves one with an impression of surprising tenderness.

''A Parting Shot'/'Pas douce' was awarded the Fipresci (international federation of film critics) Prize at the San Francisco International Film Festival 2007. This is the Swiss-born Waltz's first feature-length film, and it promises good things to come.


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