20 March 2015 | IndustriousAngel
Very good coming-of-age film
After the streak of french blockbuster comedies (Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, Intouchables, Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu?) I had the impression that this one was a comedy too - but it's much more a sweet coming-of-age story, with some very funny moments thrown in. Plus there are some elements of the choir-film sub-genre - good choice, the human voice brings much emotion to the film.
Paula (played adorably by Louane Emera in I think her first feature) is the girl who is faced with the difficult decision - take the step from her family's farm and arms out into the world (= Paris, to work on her beautiful voice), or stay at home with them?
This is made more difficult by the fact that her parents and brother are all deaf-mute, so she feels very responsible (which means, of course, that she's making it difficult for herself, since, as her teacher points out - what were they doing before she was born?!). Thrown in is a little love story - which stays very background, surprising in a coming-of-age story but a good choice, because the film is all about Paula's step away from her family, not about the discovery of boys.
The deaf-mute theme is used for some gags, and to make it harder for Paula, but where it works best is in two scenes towards the end, none of them comedic but both very touching - in both cases it's about how the parents can (or can't) enjoy her daughters singing, an in both cases director/writer Eric Lartigau found perfect and satisfying solutions how to present this on screen - I don't want to spoil those scenes but you'll know what I mean when you see it.
The only weaknesses of this film are some small unexplored (and therefor unnecessary) side plots, and maybe an overplaying of the deaf-mute thing for comical effect which takes away some realism (needing an interpreter for the news on TV? really?) - but overall, highly recommended!