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Nenette, who has the mental age of an 8-year-old, has always lived with her mother, who raised her alone. Nenette works, cleaning the community school, and her best friend is a tortoise. But when her mum dies, she faces life in a retirement home. But, as the institution doesn't accept animals, Nenette sets out with her suitcase and her tortoise, planning to find her father, whom she knows only by a yellowed photograph, a letter and an address. Written by
This is not a GREAT movie. You will not mistake it for *The Rules of the Game*.
But you will enjoy it, very much.
It is the sentimental but not sentimentalized story of an older woman, Antoinette (Nénette), who has the mind of an 8 year old. When her mother dies, she is to be put into a retirement home. But she does not want to live there, because she could not keep her turtle, a gift from her mother that is about her only connection with her.
So she decides to track down her biological father. (She was evidently the result of a brief affair between her mother and that man, a pharmacist.) Thanks to an old letter she thinks she can do so.
As it turns out, her father has been dead for years. But in his place she finds her step-brother, who at first does everything to get rid of her. Then, without understanding what she is doing, Nénette puts Ecstasy in her brother's coffee, and he becomes a new - and much better
man. He decides to take in his new-found half-sister, tries to
reunite with his son, who is in the process of going through a divorce, and even notices the charms of the pharmacist's assistant he has employed but ignored for years.
The Ecstasy finally wears off, of course, and Paul goes back to his unpleasant, grumpy self - but not without being reminded constantly of how much more likable he had been while under the influence. A close brush with death causes him to reconsider, and things turn out well in the end, but not in an obvious fashion.
As I said, this isn't the sort of movie that will be taught in film courses. But it's a thoroughly enjoyable movie, in great part because Josiane Balasko, a remarkable actress, truly makes you believe that she is the mentally handicapped but very warm-hearted woman whose character she creates. I've never seen her give less than a great performance, and she doesn't disappoint here.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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