France | Belgium 2017
Opening June 21, 2018
Directed by: Vincent Lobelle, Sébastien Thiéry
Writing credits: Sébastien Thiéry, Pascale Arbillot
Principal actors: Christian Clavier, Catherine Frot, Sébastien Thiéry, Pascale Arbillot, Hervé Pierre
André (Christian Clavier) and Laurence (Catherine Frot) Prioux, a married couple of 30 years, are shopping at the super market, when suddenly a strange young man puts a box of cereal into their cart. There is an argument and the young man disappears with their groceries. André and Laurence are forced to start from scratch with a new shopping cart. They return with four bags of groceries, having discussed the strange procedure in the car all the way home. Inside they realize that someone has broken into their house. The original groceries are in the kitchen; the young man is taking a shower. Thus begins a strange communication with this boy named Patrick, who has definite speech problems; still they understand enough to realize that he claims to be their son. How could they have a son without knowing it? Laurence accuses André of having an affair resulting in a child. André resists not only such accusations, but also any interaction with a young man claiming to be family. Laurence gradually succumbs to a motherly interest in Patrick who calls her Momo. And then he disappears with their car. Is he a crook? But no! He returns with his pregnant, handicapped wife Sarah (Pascale Arbillot) in tow.
This delightful French comedy is based on the play of the same name, also by Sébastien Thiéry. Although having written plays for 15 years, this is his first creation to reach the cinemas. Thiéry was happy to direct, as well as play the difficult role of Patrick who is deaf. This is practically a five-person performance, much like a play would be, although it is difficult to imagine having a dog on stage, whereas here the dog is also a very good actor, answering to Schweizerdeutsch in this German version. In the beginning, there was some discussion about offering up physical handicaps for laughs, but Thiéry says, “The audience laughs, yes, but is also deeply moved.” His own brother is also deaf. The actors, especially Thiéry and Clavier, are themselves worth a trip to see the film. Now I would like to see it in the original French with subtitles, just to experience the impression that language probably adds to the overall fun. (Becky T.)