M (2017) | Venice Film Festival 2017

September 1st, 2017
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Sara Forestier, Cast: Sara Forestier, Redouanne Harjene, Jean-Pierre Leaud, |France 2017, 100 min.

Actor and director Sara Forestier creates a simple but moving love story of two outsiders who, against all odds, give each other a new start in life. Wonderfully acted by Forestier and Harjene in the leads, M is passionate, but never soppy.

Lila (Forestier) is living with her grumpy, lazy father (Leaud) and her capricious little sister in a rundown flat. Days ares spent with household chores and looking after her sister and working towards BAC examinations. Lila stutters, and is made fun of in the classroom, even though she is by far the brightest student in the class. Then she meets Mo, an Arab guy who makes a living doing daredevil stunts with his car, and the two seem to be heading for a doomed romance with not much of a future. But Mo is able to loosen her up giving her confidence inspite of her speech impediment. Whilst Lila is progressing her life, the secretly illiterate Mo, loses his job in Lila’s father’s restaurant: he cannot function without reading the orders. Lila’s growing success turns the tables on her romance as she has a one last crack at breaking Mo’s defences down. M enjoys some amusing moments and those between the sisters, are often hilarious. Jean-Pierre Leaud is superb as Lila’s strict but tight-lipped father, hardly ever saying a word, feeling trapped by his paternal role yet never offering any emotional support. Harjane is vulnerability and macho aggression rolled into one. Overall M is a brave debut showing that detail not big ideas often make for an engaging intimate domestic drama. This is a heart-warming tale set in a world of conflicts on all levels. AS


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