Photo: ‘Dear Mom’

Like Orson Welles once said drunk, “Ahhh, the French”, in a taken for a wine ad, that’s what I felt when approaching yet another French film for the first time. As a general rule, I go and watch a film from France every year; and I’ve been doing it since I was fifteen and fell in love with cinema. The French New Wave in the 1960s, broke the rules of cinema and influenced how we would create future films; which was the catalyst for my love for French films in the first place.

There’s something rather magnificent about the way the scripts of French films unfold, as well as the cinematic beauty of each of their films. In short, France has the gift of telling a story well, both in terms of writing and visuals. Movies like ‘Amelie‘, ‘indigo in mood‘, and ‘my zucchini life‘ are excellent examples.

However, what I want to focus on in this review is not how wonderful French films are (although I could talk about it all day), but rather how simply comical and absurd by Netflix new movie’Dear mother‘ is really.

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Dear nonsense

Directed by Laurent Lafitte, ‘Dear Mother’ follows Jean-Louis Bordier (Laurent Lafitte) whose heart suddenly stops beating one day. He can still walk and talk, but he only has three days left before he meets his impending death. To avoid this, Jean-Louis must confront his oedipal problems by asking his mother a delicate question that many would never even dare think to ask. And what is that question, you might be wondering? Well, answering that would make the surprise even less fun. You could watch it, but I highly recommend you watch “Dear Mother” itself and let the movie shock you when it all built up to its reveal.

First of all, this movie is not for those who embrace the weird and odd balls of the Movie theater world. There are so many aspects to the writing of “Dear Mother” that are overshadowed by its scenic and beautiful cinematography. Despite everything that’s going on, you won’t even fully understand what you’re looking at until after the end credits; which, hats off to its cinematic ending, I don’t usually stick around to watch the full credits, but this time was definitely an exception.

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It’s also thanks to the actors, whose performances perfectly land the jokes in a funny way where you’re going to laugh after the second it’s said and make you go “Oh! Haha, nice”; which I know is weird to say, but I feel like that’s what makes this movie so absurd in such a charming way. Coupled with the actors’ performances is also the way they embrace the weirdness of everything and dive deep into their characters. Despite how much Jean-Louis does not want to ask the delicate question of his mother, his wife Valérie (Karine Viard) and his best friend Michel (Vincent Macaigne) want to help (even if they find the question weird too); overall, it makes the audience potentially somewhat sympathetic towards the characters.

Dear sublime writing in a beautiful world

As I mentioned above, the writing coupled with the cinematography of this movie is amazing. The way the film is set up to have little exposition and almost straight into the conflict of the story is so wonderful, and it was perfect to get my ADHD brain quickly invested in the story. Although the runtime isn’t terribly long, the story is packed with so much easy-to-digest information that you’ll feel like you’ve watched a whole delivered. That said, there are no dull moments in the movie either; everything is so fast and full of so many twists and turns that it would be rather difficult to get tired of the story.

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All these elements that make the film so fantastic, it is really thanks to the direction of Laurent Lafitte, paired with the writer, Sebastien Thiery, and the director of photography, Axel Cosnefroy. It’s obvious from watching “Dear Mother” that the trio worked hard together so they could create a big, wonderful world for us to immerse ourselves in. comedies which have a dramatic tone most of the time, eventually being called light comedy, aren’t exactly easy to prank. But, of course, “Dear Mother” becomes a deviation from that.

Admirably, as an aspiring screenwriter, I fully embraced the story of this film. I was inspired by embracing the weirdness and absurdity I can achieve with comic writing, and how developing a story around two simple elements can evolve into a fun and exciting story. And, as I’ve also mentioned before, “Dear Mother” feels like it wouldn’t be for those who don’t typically embrace weird movies; but, maybe (eventually) this movie could be a turning point for those people at the same time.

Final Dears – ‘Dear Mother’

I’m (obviously) not going to spoil the ending of ‘Dear Mother’ for you all, but it’s with confidence that I say you will Absolutely want to stay until the end of the film. Everything explodes in one big bombshell of a mixture of closure and (oddly) happy ending for Jean-Louis. Interestingly, you don’t see this ending coming even though you have a clear idea mid-movie of how this story could potentially end. I found the intensity of everything, lined with a melodic sound Goal, to make the ending exciting. In the end, once the credits roll, it all seems over and there are no more questions left for you; though the weirdness of it all will make you wonder about what you just watched.

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In the end, I’m happy that ‘Dear Mother’ is my annual French film this year. There are so many things that feel unexpected about 2022, and I think the unexpected weirdness in this movie fits that feeling perfectly. It’s obvious that so much love has been put into this film, and it deservedly deserved a place in the official selection of Cannes film festival 2020.

If you decide to watch this movie, and I really hope you do, you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. It makes me want to see it all again and feel that sense of reflection on exactly what’s going on that makes me love French cinema even more than before. Comedy is so subjective, but if you like weird movies like me, you’ll definitely put this movie on your favorites list.

To throw: Laurent Lafitte, Karine Viard, Vincent Macaigne

Cinematography: Axel Cosnefroy | Editor: Stephane Couturier | Director: Laurent Lafitte | Writer: Sebastien Thiery | Producers: Alain Attal, Patrick Quinet, Philippe Logie

By Lea Donato

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