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Ruben (Nicolas Maury) is a French Jewish gay man (think Pee Wee Herman meets David Sedaris) living in a candy-colored world in Finland with his lover Teemu (Jarkko Niemi), where Ruben works as a postman. One fateful day three days before Passover, Ruben tries to deliver an envelope of euros to a widower, who refuses to accept it, and collapses on his lawn. Teemu and Ruben fight over what to do with the cash and Ruben heads to Paris to think, and to celebrate Passover with his mother (played by Carmen Maura). Back home, Teemu is trying to get to the bottom of things--or should we say the top?-- while Ruben discovers in Paris that a certain someone has missed Ruben more than he knew. Jean-Luc Bideau, Didier Flamand, and Jean-Christophe Bouvet appear; Bouvet as the Commissaire has to mediate a poignant love call from jail. Written by
Let My People Go! is the most delightful movie I've seen in ages. Nicolas Maury is so utterly adorable, so sweetly, innocently, devastatingly sexy, so fascinating to watch every second he's on screen, that I wish he'd already starred in dozens of movies so I could watch them all. Since he hasn't, I'll have to sift through the few in which he has appeared in smaller roles.
His seemingly unselfconscious charm makes this whole movie a great joy to watch, and I can't imagine it without him at its heart - but everybody else in it and behind it is so good that I'd give it a try anyway.
Maury plays Reuben Steiner (spelled Ruben in the credits), a gay French Jew living in Finland with Teemu, his Finnish husband. His scheme to start a sauna business has failed and he's working as a mailman.
A man on his mail route gives him an envelope containing almost 200,000 euro and then appears to drop dead. Teemu gets angry at Ruben for taking the money and kicks him out, so he returns to spend Passover with his highly eccentric but very loving family in Paris.
It's a farce, much like a very modern version of a 30s screwball comedy, but all the main characters are so lovable and real that the totally unreal stuff that happens doesn't matter.
There are no bad performances (his mother is played by Almodóvar's longtime muse Carmen Maura), no villains in the story except a pig-headed in-law and a couple of snarky cops, but they're negligible. A scene near the end in which the rottweiler-like police chief reads Ruben's love letter (in English) to Teemu over the phone is priceless.
A brilliant screenplay (co-written with director Mikael Buch by the divine Christophe Honoré), mostly in French and Finnish with fairly good English subtitles; and an interesting score with songs by Devendra Banhart, Noah and the Whale and others.
I rented the movie, but I loved it so much that I've ordered a copy to watch many times over. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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