Opening 19 Jan 2012
Writing credits: Anne Fontaine, Nicolas Mercier
Principal actors: Isabelle Huppert, Benoît Poelvoorde, André Dussollier, Virginie Efira, Corentin Devroey
Agathe (Isabelle Huppert) and Francois (André Dussollier) are a rich couple who live in a beautiful apartment in Paris with their pre-teen son Adrian. Repairman Patrick (Benoît Poelvoorde) and his (also pre-teen) son Tony infiltrate the lives of these well-to-do but cold and withdrawn people, practically moving in with them. Through Patrick, Francois meets Julie (Virginie Efira), a beautiful, warm, young woman, just the opposite of his wife; they begin an affair.
This is supposed to be a comedy and perhaps there are a few opportunities to chuckle, but watching Patrick repair holes into the walls or well-dressed art fans stroll through Agathe’s gallery or Julie analyze Patrick’s fatherly skills at Social Services is not really jolly. Perhaps Francois fearfully hugging a tree in order to impress Julie, the true tree hugger, might be funny. In summary, this is about a patchwork family of six – four adults and two children, with one more child on the way – and how they adjust to the situation for the good of all involved, including even shopping at IKEA. The focus should be on the children who bring the adults together, but it’s not. Agathe certainly makes a point of drinking wine continuously, as if supporting some cliché about the French in order nudge the plot along. See the film, if you want to know what a female aquarium is. (Becky Tan)