I like to watch movies. All kinds of movies. I'm especially drawn to alternative, independent, low-budget films where I don't know what to expect and the actors/actresses are new to me. Often, those films turn out to be very pleasantly surprising. Or surprisingly pleasant. It was with this thinking that I chose to take a chance with "Lea". My instinct failed me.
Rarely do I come across a protagonist so unsympathetic. The plot follows the struggle of a girl in her twenties, trying to make ends meet. A girl that lives with and looks after her grandmother, works as a waitress in a strip club and has high aspirations for her academic studies. Not sure if it's the lack of talent in the acting department or the lack of surprises in the storyline, but after a certain point I stopped caring if anything would happen to dear miss Lea. Good or bad.
The biggest surprise - if you can call it that - is that the waitress becomes a stripper. Other than that it's like watching a documentary on the daily life of a bored (and alas, boring) small town French girl. She seems to be unhappy in everything she gets involved with - her nightclub work, her morning studies, her relationship, the college parties she attends. Perhaps under a different director, with a different actress and a more intriguing plot, it could have been an in-depth case study of a provincial character. This film however does not allow us to get a glimpse inside the leading lady's mind. She's constantly troubled, yet it's impossible to identify with her. No explanations are given. A troubled childhood? Lack of compromise with society? Confused personality? The viewer needs strong reasons to sympathize with her pain but Anne Azoulay under the direction of Bruno Rolland gives us none. Null.
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