Amanda

****

Reviewed by: Anne-Katrin Titze

Amanda
"We cry with Amanda and David and when the sun comes through again, their smiles are like a gift."

Some real-estate dealings, some tree-pruning for the Paris parks department keep David Sorel (Vincent Lacoste) busy until he finds himself more involved with the life of his little 7-year-old niece Amanda (Isaure Multrier) than he planned for.

Mikhaël Hers puts us on a roller-coaster with Amanda (a highlight of the New York Rendez-Vous With French Cinema), a film that captures the beauty of quotidian pleasures - bike rides, the changing Paris sky, visits to the park, a tennis match - by juxtaposing them with a disastrous event of terror that changes the lives of his protagonists forever.

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Lacoste, an actor who grows with every new role (especially good opposite the masterful Pierre Deladonchamps in Christophe Honoré’s Sorry Angel) and thus successfully escapes typecasting, here plays a young man who hasn't made up his mind what to do with his life when we meet him.

We cry with Amanda and David and when the sun comes through again, their smiles are like a gift. Over-eager child actors can ruin a movie, and make us feel bad for even thinking so. Or, as is the case with Multrier, they can give it a sense of reality and groundedness in the experience of childhood.

Amanda's movements to Elvis Presley's Don't Be Cruel even made me think of the pinnacle of kids amusing themselves through dance in cinema: Ana Torrent in Carlos Saura's Cría cuervos from 1976. Shared activities and truly being in the moment bond Amanda and David. The interactions between them make the film glow. During a scene on Hempstead Heath, the great Greta Scacchi (as Alison) joins them and with a smile, all age differences disappear.

Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2019
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Amanda packshot
A man assumes a new responsibility for his niece as a potential guardian.


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