Tag Archives: french films

French Fridays – My Friends, My Love

This French Friday is a review of the French rom-com: My Friends, My Love.

My Friends, My Love Poster

After being fired from his job at a bookstore, Mathias finds an opportunity to move to London to run his own bookstore. The perks? His ex-wife and daughter live in London, as does his best friend Antoine. Hoping to win her back, Mathias relocates, only find his ex-wife leaving for Paris that same day. Now Vincent and his daughter move in Antoine and his son in a modern-day odd couple relationship. Trying to manage the day-to-day rules along with new love interests proves to be challenging for the friends.

Although this story is fairly formulaic, I still found it fun in a way that only a rom-com can be. The plot was overly simplistic and at times unrealistic. The main character’s best defining characteristics is his fear of heights. I actually found Antoine’s character more layered, but neither actor really sold their character. There were a few dull scenes, plus a death that made absolutely no sense whatsoever, in timing or with its addition to the story. The film is an adaptation of the novel of the same name. So maybe the book has an explanation for that scene.

What I really appreciated about the movie was that it centered on the friendship of two single fathers, trying to do the best for their children while still trying to navigate (or completely ignore) their love lives. It was a refreshing take on gender roles. The movie is set in London, in a little district known as “Frog Alley”, being heavily populated by the French. I loved the landscape, the cute little streets and amazing architecture. I think I watched the movie more for the setting than for the story.

Overall, I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars. Its not good, but its not bad either.

French Cinema

I think I’ve hit a wall on French memoirs and fiction. I think I’ve pretty much read everything I want to/need to read. Although I am discovering picture books set in Paris with my son (he loves Madeline and Babar right now), I haven’t been indulging in as many French travel books as before. They all seem repetitive and it really seems like Scandinavia is really plugging their culture as the hip new thing everyone should be obsessed with. There are a number of books about hygge and other elements of Danish living that are flooding the  blogs and bookshelves right now.

All this is a long-winded way of saying that I’ve been delving more and more into French movies. Contemporary, fun, and interesting French films. Since there is no Goodreads for movies, I figure this blog is the best way to really document what I’m watching.

I’m not quite sure what is it about French films. Its not even that they are set in France. Its really the stories that they tell. Maybe its the limited budgets, but the stories are so much more streamlined and less hyperbolic than American movies. There is so much less fluff, less nonsense, less arbitrary supporting characters.

I’m playing a bit of catch-up with this post, but hopefully I’ll have a weekly movie review coming up on this site. Well, maybe weekly. Or as often as I watch a French film.

Le Chef Poster

(2012)  A young chef, Jacky, keeps getting fired because he gets creative in the kitchen. An older chef, Alexandre, puts up a battle, knowing that he’ll soon be bumped from his coveted position to make room for another young chef who specializes in molecular gastronomy. In a world of food, friendships and rivalries, Jacky & Alexandre work together to save Alexandre’s job.

 

Haute Cuisine Poster (2012) This is a wonderful biographical movie about chef Danièle Delpeuch and how she was appointed as the private chef for François Mitterrand. She dealt with an enormous amount of sexism in the kitchen, but nevertheless, produced some amazing meals for the president. Its a wonderfully touching and inspiring movie.

All That Glitters Poster

(2010) Lila and Ely are best friends who live just on the outskirts of Paris. They go to the clubs on the weekends and are your typical party-girls with hears of gold.  When Lila begins a relationship with a wealthy Parisian, she and Ely soon begin living a lie about their own financial status, putting a strain on their friendship as well as on their relationships with their families. I really adored this movie. Anyone who is not born into glamour or wealth can appreciate the motivation of these two girls to keep up with high-society.

Blind Date Poster (2015) Fed up with living under her father’s thumb, a young pianist finds an apartment to call her own. On her first night, she runs away thinking its haunted. Further inspection leads her to find out that its actually her neighbor. A shy, reclusive artist who hates sharing the thin walls with anybody.  Things get interesting when she moves in and won’t stand for his demand for absolute quiet. Its a very cute and funny love story. I can picture an early 80s American version with Meg Ryan.

The Intouchables Poster

(2011)  This one is my absolute favorite that I have seen so far. I can safely say I like it better than Amelie (ducks undercover). This is the story of a man who becomes quadriplegic after a paragliding accident and his rough-around-the-edges caretaker. The two form an unlikely friendship. Philippe is a young aristocrat surrounding by pity, Driss is recently released from jail and looking for any way to support his mother and their large family. This movie is actually based on a true story. It really reminded me of Jojo Moyes Me Before You. Its sentimental, but not a tear-jerker. The characters are authentic and relatable without feeling forced. I highly recommend this movie if you ever have the chance.

The Illusionist – Movie Review

The Illusionist Poster

IMDB summary:

A French illusionist finds himself out of work and travels to Scotland, where he meets a young woman. Their ensuing adventure changes both their lives forever.

In the beautifully animated French film by Sylvain Chomet, L’Illusionniste, a down and out magician befriends a young Scottish girl who followed him, believing that he is a real magician . The story that follows is one of friendship, loss of innocence, love and appreciation of life. Is not a romance, their relationship is more of a father-daughter relationship. The film is written by the same amazing mind that brought us the Triplets of Belleville.

I was crying at the end of the movie, I felt it was a bittersweet ending. The storyline and the overarching theme of loss of innocence is very subtly woven through the movie.  There is little to no dialogue in the entire film. You learn about the development of the relationship between the magician and the young girl through images, facial expressions and body language. Even the supplementary characters played powerful roles in shaping the lives of the magician and the young girl.  One thing I really loved was the animation and how the movie was actually not set in France. There is one scene in particular when they are riding a train going over a bridge. The reflection and slight waves in the water was amazing. I wanted to print each frame of the movie. If you can get your hands on this movie, I highly recommend it.

The Illusionist

The Illusionist