Done in the insufferable French style of TV drama-coming-of-age romance, an anthropologist recalls his childhood and adolescence in a small rural town of France.
Anthropology is completely incidental, as the movie does not really explore that theme. It might have been inserted there solely as a token for expressing interest in human psychology.
So what’s interesting here? Exposing the privilege of white upper middle class in Europe. Paul, the main character’s most memorable experiences of struggle are:
- the death of his grandmother
- his mother’s mental illness and early suicide
- his bipolar girlfriend (Sara Forestier)
- Sleeping in hostels, washing in public baths, while completing his Masters in anthropology
- Buying drugs from Arabs in the low income housing projects
The climax of this story is our now older Paul, confronting a teenage friend about sleeping with his first love. Doesn’t that seem petty and completely unimportant?
But since there is a long tradition of similar films in the French canon, the market picks it up, and promotes it as French whimsy.
The only redemption here is Sara Forestier’s cool and removed charm, which unfortunately falls apart when she becomes entangled with Paul’s vague ambitions.
Two hours of poor character development, and schmaltz.