French Film Review: Une Belle Course

French Film Review: Une Belle Course

Taxi driver Charles (Dany Boon) is having a bad day (a disastrous day, in fact) when 92-year-old Madeleine (Line Renaud) forces him across Paris to pick her up and then drive her back across the city to her destination – a retirement home. Distracted, he doesn’t pay her much mind, but her quiet charm soon begins to work its magic – on us, the viewer, as much as Charles. Detour after detour reveals her life, from the thunderbolt of first love with an American GI during the war and the birth, after his departure, of their child, to some rather more painful events.

Dany Boon said: “Madeleine’s character gives me an almost philosophical lesson in life. Charles is overwhelmed by his money and relationship problems. He agrees to pick up Madeleine mainly because the distance is long and, as the French title suggests, it will be a beautiful ride. But on the way, while driving around and confiding in each other, Madeleine opens his eyes and heart. She has a good perspective on life in general and suffering in particular.”

On the face of it, this movie threatens mawkish sentimentality and yet, largely down to the skilled performances of the two leads whose understated delivery creates a masterful, compelling experience, it steers clear. The result is a charming, quietly contemplative meditation on ageing, the changing world, and the value of not taking anything for granted.

Director Christian Carion sums it up best: “I had in my hands this original script written by Cyril Gély. I read it in one go on a train and by the end of the journey I was in tears. All of us face this question one day: what will happen to our parents when they get old?”

Director: Christian Carion

Starring: : Line Renaud, Dany Boon, Alice Isaaz, Jérémie Laheurte

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From France Today magazine

Lead photo credit : © Jean_Claude Lother

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