Sage Homme (2023)

March 18th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Jennifer Devoldere | Cast: Karin Viard, Melvin Boomer, Steve Tientcheu, Tracy Gotoas | France Drama 104′

French filmmaker Jennifer Devoldere makes a comeback after more than a decade  with this didactic rather uneven comedy drama that explores the world of childbirth through the eyes of young male midwife, played by Melvin Boomer in his feature debut.

After failing the entrance exam to become a doctor, Léopold (Boomer) is relegated to midwifery, rather a come-down from his perspective, and it shows. Clearly, delivering babies is a challenging profession for a young man who comes from a hyper male background of three younger brothers and a macho father, and gets a baptism of fire in a world dominated by women, and particularly his boss Nathalie, played by Karin Viard who carries the film from start to finish. From their first meeting, when Leo makes a fuss about wearing the obligatory pink overalls, Nathalie will knock him into shape by the sheer force of her experience and personality, and challenge his misconceptions about childbirth and what it takes to bring the next generation into the world – in graphic detail – these scenes providing the film with considerable emotional freight.

Boomer gives a decent first performance but his backstory, set in the council blocks of Nancy, feels completely eclipsed by that of Viard and her patients. And the other characters: his father (Tientcheu), brothers, and girlfriend (Gotoas) seem totally irrelevant to the far more gripping and meaningful hospital scenes, dominated by Nathalie doing her vital work, while Leopold looks on as the truculent trainee – although he does in the end redeem himself.  

Devoldere covers all the birth bases: the complicated cases, the tragic ones and, ultimately, the legal ones, which gives the film its final sting. We learn a lot about being midwife and why working in the professional can be so controversial, yet so totally reliant on people who care and are prepared to give it their all. People like Nathalie, with Viard managing to ooze sensuality while being up to her elbows in blood and gore. MT


Copyright © 2024 Filmuforia