One Fine Morning

****

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

One Fine Morning
"Seydoux is superb as she runs the emotional gamut with subtlety and empathy, demonstrating an extraordinary survival spirit in complicated circumstances." | Photo: Les films du Losange

The well-heeled Parisian milieu superficially may seem familiar but director Mia Hansen-Løve, with her eighth feature, knows how to craft an original patchwork of life experiences.

She is superbly served by her two leads. Léa Seydoux plays a single mother with a young daughter still in a relationships limbo after the death of her husband some five years previously and who also has to cope with her professor father (Pascal Greggory) suffering from a degenerative disease. He can no longer cope on his own and the family, including his ex-wife (Nicole Garcia), gather to work out a care home alternative.

Into the frame steps Melvil Poupaud, an old friend of her husband with whom she has enjoyed a cordial if platonic friendship. They meet up by chance in a local park with their respective children (her daughter and his son) and discover a romantic connection that neither had anticipated.

It’s all thrown into sharp relief by the continued decline of her father. She had never anticipated a married lover but for a brief period he provides an escape.

Hansen-Løve has a knack of creating fully-fledged characters, providing details and insight into the way they lead their lives. To be sure there are similarities to her earlier foray Things To Come, from 2016 with Isabelle Huppert, but these are the kind of themes in which the director excels: romantic heartbreak, mortality, relationships, hardships and interweaving generations.

Seydoux is superb as she runs the emotional gamut with subtlety and empathy, demonstrating an extraordinary survival spirit in complicated circumstances. Poupaud also nails his lived-in interloper to a tee - showing genuine overwhelming feelings for his object of desire while struggling with the idea of leaving his wife and child.

The supporting cast including Garcia and Greggory are equally impressive under Hansen-Løve’s empathetic direction.

Perhaps it’s just a sign of the maturing generations that many contemporary French filmmakers (among them François Ozon) are turning their attention to the consequences of elderly parents and end of life philosophising. Their activity, despite the rigours, suggest that whatever else is in store, filmmaking and life do continue.

Reviewed on: 20 May 2022
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A woman who is raising her daughter alone and looking after her dad, who has a degenerative disease, embarks on a passionate affair.

Director: Mia Hansen-Løve

Writer: Mia Hansen-Løve

Starring: Léa Seydoux, Melvil Poupaud, Nicole Garcia, Pascal Greggory, Kester Lovelace, Ema Zampa

Year: 2022

Runtime: 112 minutes

Country: France

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Cannes 2022

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