Opening 4 Aug 2011
Angéle’s (Clotilde Hesme) son Yohan lives with the ex parents-in-law. The film opens with her seeking a birthday present for Yohan, but, when the time comes to give it to him after school, she pushes it onto her father-in-law who is there to fetch the boy. In just a few minutes we catch the hopeless situation of a young woman who fails at the challenges of daily life. She has no real residence or job, must check in with a parole officer, and has quick sex with strangers. There is only one constant: she wishes to live with her son. Therefore she advertises for a “father.” Luckily for her, a fisherman named Tony scoops her up. He is neither Mr. Universe nor a super hero, but just a simple man, whose father, a fisherman like himself, died at sea. In spite of resistance from his mother and brother, he installs Angéle into his household, even showing her how to sell and clean fish. Suddenly, she has a roof over her head, a job, and companionship. Naturally, there is no surprise when love follows and all is well.
This is another one of those small, heartfelt films with sparse dialogue and annoying, distracting plunk-plunk-plunk music. Perhaps the best part is the beautiful scenery and the ever-present sea in Normandy, France. We can be thankful that Tony is a fisherman and not an insurance salesman. I especially enjoyed the mother (Evelyne Didi), who seems down to earth, a hard worker who copes with a female ex-convict at her kitchen table – not everyone’s dream, no matter how much you love your son. Actually, the story is about two mothers who love their sons. My favourite scene was in front of a bridal shop where Tony proposes marriage without having to say much. Conversation is not his strong point. Delete all the long scenes of Angéle riding her bicycle yet again, and it would have the perfect length. Director Alix Delaporte won France’s prize for best first film. Good luck to this successful female director who definitely has potential. (Becky Tan)