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Merle follows the invitation of her lover to spend the summer in the South of France. She is surprised to find only his children in the summer house. Did she expect more than she should have? An ambiguous summer full of silent desire.
One day, a bad fall forces Edmond to accept Rose's help. Eventually, the two grow closer. The young woman finds relief in confiding painful memories to the older man; things she cannot even bring herself to tell her husband. Meanwhile, Edmond, too, opens up, sharing recollections of his beloved wife. Written by
Palm Springs Internation Film Festival
Heart warming ~ and a joy to watch ... (rating: 10)
The Little Room (2010) delivers a heart warming story in no nonsense terms without fanfare. The entire concept is elegant. The central character, Rose, a nurse (Florence Loiret Caille) prematurely returns to work after a personal neonatal tragedy. On her rounds as community nurse one of her new patients is Edmond (Michael Bouquet) now is in his eighties. Circumstances bring the two into closer contact more frequently so that an unlikely rich bond of friendship gradually but steadily ensues.
Far from being the easiest of clients for Rose, Edmond is a man, who having lost his beloved wife some 40 years earlier, has only his unloving and unsupportive son Jacques (Joel Delsaut) to call 'family'. For Edmond, a diabetic, life holds few surprises or joys and understandably he is undisturbed at the idea of giving up on the will to live. Somewhat cruelly, Jacques intends his father be taken into care so that he may start afresh in New York. That is Edmond's likely fate until the encounter with Rose.
While Rose is portrayed as neither glamorous nor affected she possesses a warm heart and clear mind. She encourages Edmond to do the simplest of things such as eating, and to accept insulin shots. Few words are exchanged but her presence and willingness to regard Edmond as a man, and as a real human being has a profound effect that slowly restores his will to live little-by-little.
A small cooker fire transpires in Edmond's home. Rose is there and deals with it - though black smoke chars the kitchen. The son enters, sees the state of the kitchen and along with Rose's boss they both blame her for allowing the fire, while also accusing her of becoming too involved. Her boss decides Rose is not yet ready to return to work so soon after losing an unborn child, compelling her to take a lengthy "vacation".
Marc (Eric Cavayaka), Rose's live-in partner, chooses to leave her to work abroad. After their separation Rose finds she has ample time available to care for Edmond whom she then takes to her own apartment where he stays. It becomes apparent Rose feels a need to substitute for her lost child by caring for Edmond ~ in a wholesome way. An undoubted friendship develops. They start to talk, dine together and go out. Edmond takes an interest in Rose once he realises that she miscarried and still grieves long after her tragic loss. Rose takes Edmond to her child's cemetery; where at the graveside he shows her which plants will last longest. While this may sound sombre or slow it is incredibly touching the pace of events seem real, there's little music - it just comes down to immaculate acting by the two principle leads so that this story works brilliantly.
Edmond stays with Rose, which they enjoy keeping as their secret, while Jacques unaware of this situation eventually reports his father as a missing person. Marc returns to Rose and also forms a bond with Edmond.
Dramatically, the story picks-up apace when Edmond chooses to go on a mission and journeys alone to where memories of his deceased wife are strongest. The effect of Edmond's sudden unannounced disappearance stirs the deepest emotions in Rose.
Unfortunately, to avoid spoilers this where descriptions of the story stop!!! As so often the case with French cinema a human story is told in a fascinating and gripping way. Stéphanie Chaut and Véronique Reymond co-direct and co-write with empathy, immaculate timing, without interference of intrusive sound tracks and cleverly involve viewers in every character's situation. This tale is about humanity, compassion, dignity, and life's unexpected events; and not for a moment does it drag. A remarkable thing... in Florence Loiret Caille's portrayal of a ordinary dowdy community nurse she plays the part with undeniable charisma and subtly oozes sex appeal. If you can catch this film it should not be missed. It's a treat.
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