Opening 14 Jan 2016
Writing credits: Baya Kasmi, Michel Leclerc
Principal actors: Vimala Pons, Mehdi Djaadi, Agnès Jaoui, Ramzy Bedia, Laurent Capelluto
Freewheeling Hanna (Pons) lives in the same colorful Parisian neighborhood where she grew up. Money may have been tight, yet her parents – Algerian (Bedia) and French (Jaoui) – gave her all she wanted, including a brother. Now thirty, Hanna admits she suffers from a neurosis – kindness. Especially when someone is troubled, her life-mantra seems to be, “How can I make it up to you”? This makes for some interesting acquaintances, such as Paul (Capelluto), and friendships, Ebène (Claudia Tagbo) and her group. Conversely, her brother (Djaadi) embraces Muslimism, living with his patient wife (Camélia Jordana) and children at his parents. The Belkacems’ accept both children’s lifestyles, rarely asking anything from them. But there are exceptions and this one is a doozy.
Director Baya Kasmi co-wrote with Michel Leclerc a screenplay that thins out from inserting too many themes. Hard to understand is their reasoning for continual back-and-forth cuts among childhood, adolescence and present-day by editor Monica Coleman. Quite a few scenes make no sense; a situation that is funny the first time is boringly labored the third time around. Kudos to the cast for delivering good performances, considering some of the scenarios. Cinematographer Guillaume Deffontaines, Jérôme Bensoussan music, and Mélanie Gautier costumes deliver as well. Billed a comedy, funny bits are mixed in with quite awful ones so that it is rather a relief to leave the cinema. 100 minutes (Marinell Haegelin)