Monday, July 21, 2008

Le Fils de l'épicier (The Grocer’s Son)

The second film by Eric Guirardo is a light and touching drama that will make you feel good during and after watching this amazing little gem of a movie as not only allows you to travel to the most peaceful and beautiful French countryside, but also has a story full of characters that have to fight the small battles of everyday life.

Has a very simple story of a thirty something man that left his homeland to go to Paris where is a silent and lonely bum; as his father gets sick and has to come to Paris, his mother ‘motivates’ him to take over –at least for the summer- his father job running their general store van that brings groceries and things to isolated villages inhabitants. But actually the story is about how a family with family members that have been living an unhappy life and regretting almost everything they have done finally comes to terms.

The traveling van gives permission to meet the shoppers played by non-actors that were instructed to recreate what they usually do and this allows to have some very comic moments and other very touching situations that will definitively move you. This director definitively has an extremely good eye for characters and for excellent storytelling with great cinematography, a not too slow pace, some good framing and the end product is a combination of so many little details that make a very entertaining, smooth lovely film.

For a change this great little movie has a clear ending and rare in French movies, the end is happy. Amazingly it does make sense to have a happy ending, as is the only way to end this fantastic voyage that made me feel like if I was spending my vacations in such an idyllic setting. I was extremely peaceful and happy during and after watching this movie.

Nicolas Cazalé (Antoine) gives a compelling and engaging performance, so it is truly deserved his nomination as Most Promising Actor at the 2008 César Awards. Also Clotilde Hesme as the bubbly and pretty Claire has a very good performance and is worth mentioning that the way the writers developed Antoine’s and Claire romance is not the usual girl-boy relationship, which obviously is a plus that increases viewers pleasure with this little movie.

I wish I could say that this movie is for all audiences, but I know that is not as I believe that you have to like light French cinema to really enjoy this movie as much as I did. Still, there are quite a few American critics and viewers that have positive comments regarding this movie, so perhaps the charming story and the lightness of the movie makes this French movie more accessible to non-French audiences. So, perhaps some of you that do not particularly like French movies could give it a try.


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