Let's Talk About The Rain

Let's Talk About The Rain


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

It could be argued that many of the best ensemble dramas are French. From Chabrol to Rohmer, the cross-Channel directors manage to juggle disparate characters and unspoken tensions with Gallic flair. Here, Anges Jaoui pulls off a triple coup, co-writing, directing and co-starring in this wryly comic examination of human relationships.

Part family drama, part modern life commentary, Jaoui’s Agathe Villanova lies at the heart of the film. A tough new feminist player in the political world, she returns home to help sister Florence (Pascale Arbillot) put their recently deceased mother’s affairs in order. While there, she is approached by Karim (Jamel Debbouze), the son of Florence’s housekeeper, to take part in a documentary. Although he is a hotel receptionist, he dreams of becoming a filmmaker, so that when his friend Michel (co-writer Jean Pierre Bacri) suggests they ask her to be the subject of a film on successful women, he’s all for it. “I’m motivated,” he tells Michel, “I’ve just lost my momentum.”

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The confident Agathe is keen to take part, but soon it is not the subject of politics but the politics of relationships that come to the fore.

Jaoui and Bacri’s script cleverly explores the notions of victimhood. Karim feels as though his mother is put-upon by Florence’s family. Michel feels unable to get over the divorce that has left him bereft of his son, while Florence feels bitter that her mother apparently favoured Agathe and is trapped in a marriage with her over-dependent husband.

Agathe, meanwhile, may be nobody’s victim, but has plenty of problems on the home front, thanks to the stressed-out Florence and her sweet boyfriend (Frederic Pierrot), who is fast losing patience with playing second fiddle to her work.

Despite the interlocking of these relationships – it becomes more complicated throughout the course of the film – suggesting this is a contrived situation, there is an understated naturalness to the writing, with characters just as likely to fumble with their words as sparkle in conversation. Although not much happens, the manner of the action feels utterly unforced. The cast work well together, with Bacri and Debbouze’s strong rapport adding spark. Debbouze, in particular, seems to settle into this much more adult role than his previous outings – Amelie, Days Of Glory – with a relaxed grace.

This is not the rat-a-tat-tat of comic one-liners, but rather an amiable amble, brimming with charm, which uncovers truths in everyday relationships.

Reviewed on: 01 Oct 2008
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A self-centred politican has to deal with the politics of relationships when she returns to her home town.
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Director: Agnès Jaoui

Writer: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Agnès Jaoui

Starring: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Jamel Debbouze, Agnès Jaoui, Pascale Arbillot, Guillaume De Tonquedec, Frédéric Pierrot, Mimouna Hadji, Florence Loiret, Laurent Jarroir, Anne Werner, Jean-Claude Baudracco

Year: 2008

Runtime: 110 minutes

Country: France

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