Opening 20 Apr 2006
Romain (Melvil Poupaud), a handsome young fashion photographer, learns that he is incurably ill and has less than six months to live. He decides to forego the arduous chemotherapy, which he is told will have a less than 2% chance of success. The film follows Romain as he slowly sheds his arrogantly selfish persona and endeavors to find peace and a more meaningful connection with the people close to him. First and foremost among the chosen few is his grandmother Laura (the still-riveting Jeanne Moreau) with whom he has always had a deeply loving relationship. She is the only one he will actually tell about his fatal illness. Neither his lover, Sasha (Christian Sengewald), nor his sister Sophie (Louise-Anne Hippeau), nor his parents, are informed, although his transformation from a muscular, vibrant young man into a semi-somnambulant skeleton, shorn of his head of rich black curls, certainly would have made his approaching death clear to anyone who saw him. Halfway through the picture, a stranger, Jany (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), enters his life. She is to play a surprising role in his coming to terms with his fate.
François Ozon, the director, brought the excellent Sous le sable (Under the Sand) with Charlotte Rampling to the screen in 2000 as the first in a trilogy about grief – in that case dealing with the death of someone else. This film examines the question of one’s own death. A third, as yet unwritten, is to concern the death of a child. The Time Remaining is decidedly not as successful as the Under the Sand, but that is not the fault of Melvil Poupaud, who gives an extraordinary performance. I felt the script and Ozon’s directorial approach gave us little chance to make an emotional connection with Romain, who dominates every frame. The result is a film which is often tedious and boring despite the dramatic theme. (Adele Riepe)