The Béliers are ordinary people: Rodolphe and Gigi are married, have two children and run their farm for a living. Ordinary people? Well, almost... since three of them, Dad, Mum and their son Quentin, are deaf. Which is not the case of the boy's big sister, Paula. And not only can she speak but her music teacher scouts her beautiful voice as well. He offers her to sit for the entrance exam of the Maîtrise de Radio France, a vocal elite choir in Paris. Her parents, who rely on her as their ears and mouth in the outside world, take the news badly. Paula, who hates the idea of betraying her parents and her brother, goes through a painful dilemma...Written by
After the streak of french blockbuster comedies (Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, Intouchables, Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu?) I had the impression that this one was a comedy too - but it's much more a sweet coming-of-age story, with some very funny moments thrown in. Plus there are some elements of the choir-film sub-genre - good choice, the human voice brings much emotion to the film.
Paula (played adorably by Louane Emera in I think her first feature) is the girl who is faced with the difficult decision - take the step from her family's farm and arms out into the world (= Paris, to work on her beautiful voice), or stay at home with them?
This is made more difficult by the fact that her parents and brother are all deaf-mute, so she feels very responsible (which means, of course, that she's making it difficult for herself, since, as her teacher points out - what were they doing before she was born?!). Thrown in is a little love story - which stays very background, surprising in a coming-of-age story but a good choice, because the film is all about Paula's step away from her family, not about the discovery of boys.
The deaf-mute theme is used for some gags, and to make it harder for Paula, but where it works best is in two scenes towards the end, none of them comedic but both very touching - in both cases it's about how the parents can (or can't) enjoy her daughters singing, an in both cases director/writer Eric Lartigau found perfect and satisfying solutions how to present this on screen - I don't want to spoil those scenes but you'll know what I mean when you see it.
The only weaknesses of this film are some small unexplored (and therefor unnecessary) side plots, and maybe an overplaying of the deaf-mute thing for comical effect which takes away some realism (needing an interpreter for the news on TV? really?) - but overall, highly recommended!
13 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this