An aerobic instructor and gambling addict, Michèle's (Sylvie Moreau) life is turned upside down when her fiancé (Claude Despins), unwilling to cover her debts, stops supporting her financially. With her 14-year old daughter, Marguerite (Mylène St-Sauveur), in tow, and now homeless, Michèle pays a visit to her childhood friend, Janine (Macha Grenon), who has a teenage daughter of her own, Gabrielle (Juliette Gosselin). Janine agrees to take in mother and daughter in her leafy, seemingly perfect, suburban home. As the two adolescents get to know each other, Janine and Michèle get reacquainted as well. But soon, values and appearances start to clash and everything is thrown into question for both parent and child. As Gabrielle begins to liberate herself and becomes increasingly critical of her mother, Michèle slowly becomes aware of her own daughter's true nature and her need for stability. The peaceful suburban home suddenly becomes the stage for major life transformations.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Louise Archambault's debut feature won the Best First Feature award at Toronto (2005) and scored eight nominations in Canada's Genie Awards, and won the Claude Jutra Award for her. And indeed, it's an impressive debut, both the screenplay and the direction delivering a decent payload of emotional pressure points about modern parenting. But it's not just about parenting; the complex layers of the screenplay, which make it so effective, deal with all the themes that touch us as we move through the generational stage of our lives.
The film's most compelling journey is Michèle's (Sylvie Moreau); cursed with a gambling habit, she's disconnected from everyone, even her teenage daughter. She is also irresponsible and dishonest, a bludger. In short, a pathetic figure superbly portrayed by Moreau. She draws our disdain and compassion in even doses, and her wake up call has a potent impact.
Macha Gernon is also effective as her put upon friend, Janine, who by contrast is overly possessive of her 13 year old Gabrielle, and living in somewhat of a fake life. The two teenagers are sensational, and the film's structure is focused and balanced.
Don't let the DVD slick's happy smiling faces fool you; this is no flimsy chick flick, but a hard headed, big hearted expose of contemporary life.
Published: May 29, 2008
Email this article
FAMILIA: DVD (MA)
CAST: Sylvie Moreau, Macha Grenon, Juliette Gosselin, Mylène St-Sauveur, Micheline Lanctôt, Patricia Nolin, Paul Savoie
PRODUCER: Luc Dery, Kim McCraw
DIRECTOR: Louise Archambault
SCRIPT: Louise Archambault
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Andre Turpin
EDITOR: Sophie Leblond
MUSIC: Ramachandra Bocar
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Pierre Allard
RUNNING TIME: 102 minutes
PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0
SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes; alternate ending; trailers
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Madman
DVD RELEASE: March 19, 2008
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.