Opening 7 Oct 2010
Oscar (Amir) is dying of cancer and has no interest in talking to anyone. Until the Lady in Pink shows up at the hospital and makes him laugh. Rose (Michèle Laroque) delivers a pizza, spiced with fantasy and truth – a mix Oscar knows is rare in adults. Dr Düsseldorf (Max von Sydow) seizes the opportunity to help his ten-year-old patient; he explains the situation, and they strike a deal: Rose will deliver her pizzas (a few since she wants to get something out of the arrangement) daily and chat a bit with Oscar.
Eventually Rose relinquishes to the quest of unlocking Oscar’s non-communicative stance. She enthralls and rivets his imagination with tales of her past sport prowess. When he presents an inevitable question, she retaliates with a game. She counsels Oscar about Peggy Blue (Mathilde Goffart), other kids in the hospital, and circuitously many of them tell her about their particular trepidations. Next she incorporates the angle for Oscar to send letters to God, tied to balloons that she releases outside his window. This in turn is how Dr Düsseldorf and Oscar’s parents become privy to what Oscar feels and thinks about.
Writer/director Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt’s adaptation of his play-to-book-to-film is worthy; a child battling cancer is difficult material to handle. What saves this film is Amir and Laroque‘s outstanding performances and the wonderfully imaginative cinematic interpretations of Rose’s skill in the ring. The story is nice: both Oscar and Rose are "hard nuts to crack", yet their ensuing rapport is a boon for both. Legendary Michel Legrand returns with original music that embellishes the innate fluctuating emotional currents, including spiritual, within the film. My tip: make sure you take along extra tissues. (Marinell Haegelin)