Last night I watched this incredibly funny movie, What’s in a Name? The film is actually an adaptation of the play, which was also written by film’s directors, Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière.
The premise: Family dinner. When Vincent announces the name of his future son, he starts a chain of reactions and revelations that spark debate, controversy and some pretty incredible truths about how the family really feels about each other.
The film stars Patrick Bruel in the lead role of impish Vincent. Most of the actors are new to me, but I’m really just beginning to delve into the world of contemporary French films.
My husband watched the movie with me and we both agreed that the entire premise of this movie would never really take off in the US, unless it was an under-funded indie film. Even then, I wonder. The entire movie takes place in the living room of Babu (Vincent’s sister). She and her husband are hosting dinner for her brother, his wife and Babu’s childhood best friend Claude. During the course of the dinner, Vincent announces the results of the ultrasound (a boy) and then the selected name for his son. I won’t reveal the name, but it sparks a heated discussion between all of the party members. This revelation leads to some other revelations about each person at the dinner party. Its kind of like that episode of Friends where the entire cast snitches on each other to Monica and Ross’ parents.
Vincent’s seemingly innocent joke about the baby’s name goes too far and soon everyone is digging up the past as they fling insults at each other. The actors themselves are precise and impeccable in their acting and intensity of emotion that they bring to their parts. No one misses a beat.
The New York Times has a wonderful review of the film if you don’t mind a few spoilers about the name reveal.