1 November 2014 | pjl-7
A Surprisingly Uplifting Film
This is a film about climbing, about rising above, about aspiring to new heights, both literally and allegorically.
Each of the characters is stretched, as the plot develops, to become a better self. Sandra, the principal character, has to overcome her 7 years of prison conditioning and learn to trust and be trusted. Paul has a quarter of a century of hurt held inside from Sandra's mother. Bruno, Sandra's growing love interest must control his impatience to conquer the mountain, but he also has to come to terms with the reason behind his inability to commit to the girl he lives with.
In a French film, it is not unreasonable to expect all these plot lines to weave together into a tragedy of Trufautesque proportion. Instead, though, Pierre-Antoine Hiroz shows us characters rising to the occasion, opting for the nobler choice, and arriving at a more feel-good resolution. But don't expect all the 'i's to be dotted and all the 't's crossed - that would just be too Hollywood.
I took a few points off my rating for some quite weak and predictable plot lines, but primarily for all the missed cinematographic opportunities. It is unconscionable to set a film in and around the Chamonix valley and the Mont Blanc, and not let the landscape dominate the movie as it does the whole region in real life.