|Index||4 reviews in total|
Just saw this last night at the Seattle International Film Festival.
None of the 4 of us knew much about it and we all enjoyed it immensely.
Refreshingly bleak slice of life about folks on the slippery slope of life's troubles.
Fantastic performances, particularly from the lead actor. I will certainly check out more of his work.
The scenes with his young co-star are lovely, showing the best of a chosen family, even in the most desperate of times.
I loved the time and space the director allowed for quiet character compositions.
Yann Laurent (brilliant performance by Guillaume Canet at his best) is working as a cook in a catering facility and aspires to get a better job as a chef in a restaurant. He meets Nadia, a young waitress, single mother of a 9.5 years old boy named Slimane. They fall in love; then during a day off near a lake, they encounter a closed mansion. With not much preparation, and lack of cash, they buy the place in the aim of opening their restaurant. What begins as a dram will turn out as a nightmare. After works being made to fix the place, authorities do not allow the opening for non compliance to regulations. The downward spiral begins, as they lied to the bank to get the loan (their initial cash was actually borrowed with high interest rates in many loans different companies). Nadia is offered by her boss to go work abroad in Canada. Shes asks Yann to keep her son for a supposedly short period of time, the time she sorts things out. But the situation for all characters seems to get worse and worse on the material level... Slimane's mother left, but he might have found a father... Overall, a film of quality, quite sad, but full of life. The harshness of times of crisis, when the poor people get desperate.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Oddly ,this movie begins like Duvivier's 1936 classic "La Belle Equipe"
at a time when people were dreaming of a better future;in 2011,they are
still dreaming.A couple (in Duvivier"s movie ,it was a bunch of
buddies) buys a restaurant by a lake ,soon to be confronted with
insurmountable difficulties , the infernal indebtedness spiral-one of
the subjects of the contemporary "Toutes Nos Envies" by Philippe
Lioret-.the originality of Khan's movie is the reversal of the
sexes:it's the man who is left alone with his lover's little brat and
who has to cope with a ruthless world .Guillaume Canet is as good as
ever in a part à la "Kramer vs Kramer" (but a hero who has to live in a
much more modest milieu)and his young co-star is up to scratch ,without
showing off;sometimes ,with his hope against hope,Canet's character
recalls those of Frank Borzage ,who gave all they had for something
better that did not seem to happen.
SPOILER: the last sequence really makes the viewer happy ,after all these trials ;and without being really a happy end it lets some sunlight break through .The better future might still be at hand after all.
This movie is really dark and sad as this young family faces only
despair and adversity. But for me it was in addition very painful and
nostalgic as i met those characters for real. Indeed, Leila is the
mirror of my Arabic friend who, like in the movie, was a single mother
with kids. Thus, Slimane is the mirror of her youngest kid whose name
is thus Ayoub. At first, i didn't like very much Yann as he was always
pushy with Leila and especially Slimane. But his idealism, blind
optimism and honesty was also positive for him. But he really changed
when he has to conclude that playing by the rules in a such unfair
world wasn't the right attitude. Strangely, he became closer with the
kid and like me, he was happy to share simple moments with him that
make best memories after and give life its meaning. Their fish party or
the last scene with them riding in the snow was heartbreaking for me as
Ayoub and me had the same laughs, especially a bus trip when the two of
us fall asleep and the driver had to wake us up! So the movie poster
with Yann and Leila isn't accurate as it's above all the story of Yann
This movie shows also the true face of Paris, the one that looks like a poor country and the crazy life in France : for a country that boasts having invented human rights, the individual has no liberty and in each step you do, you have to face a blind administration that sees only the regulation and forgets to address the person.
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