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  • We star with the premise that if in a Film like LES INTOUCHABLE spinal paralysis is funny, stroke victims must be good for a laugh though, to give them credit, they do show recovering patient Fabrice Luchini a ward filled with grim fellow victims on respirators unable to move in their beds.

    Derived from the non fiction book "J'étais un homme pressé" by Christian Streiff former CEO of Airbus and PSA Peugeot-Citroen, this one shows the rich Luchini character as a hard serving executive who intimidates all. It takes all the Luchini charm to make this guy acceptable.

    He collapses on the way to work and we get into the story where, still in denial, Luchini is made to realise that he has lost his control of language, this with a major address to an executive meeting in Geneva coming up - jokes like him greeting people by saying goodbye and other malapropisms that must have given the sub-titlers nighmares. His ordering a turd from an unfazed waiter at the cafe defeats them.

    He recruits hospital speech therapist Leïla Bekhti full time and starts to develop drills to restore his lost vocabulary and memory of the lay out of his district. Bored with the kids' picture books she uses he switches to the Jardin des Plantes menagerie and it's real animals.

    Drone shot downwards on a speeding express train and we get a King's Speech scene in Geneva which he aces bit is still shown the door.

    At which point the film starts again as Luchini settles in to sort out the relationship with his daughter (that doesn't go too well) and Béhkti, before his European hiking tour accompanied by his faithful dog - much stamping of his passport and alpine scenics. The scene setting is particularly deft in this one.

    The central performance is superior but when they've set up support players so well it's unsatisfying to not find their stories given an outcome.

    Lush feel good European movie of the kind that plays well in English speaking country art theaters.
  • Herve Mimran's A Man in a Hurry is a little unusual, in that it takes the serious subject of strokes, then subtracts most of the dramatic repercussions of an onset of the illness, substituting comedic elements instead. This plays out singularly in that high-powered, workaholic CEO of a car company, Alain (Fabrice Luchini), wakes up in hospital to discover that he's forgotten how to use his native French language. He knows exactly what he wants to say but can't choose the right words to say it. It's funny for awhile, until it becomes a repetitious contrivance, as we gradually understand there are no other stroke side effects to be explored. This is not to take anything away from Luchini's very good performance. His enunciation and timing of the jumbled words and sentences is impeccable.

    The movie then morphs into a fairly innocuous, but derivative tale of personal redemption, as the vocally - challenged executive, loses his job, whilst slowly coming to the gradual realisation, that there is more to life than work.

    Seemingly recognising that he really only had the slim pickings of a major narrative with A Man in a Hurry, Mimran confusingly chooses to add in a few other fairly extensive sub-stories involving support characters. Of these, the only one that really seems to mesh, even partly with the main storyline is that which involves Alain's alienated daughter, who like her dad, is pursuing her university course single - mindedly, with little time for much else.

    Another sub-story involving speech therapist Jeanne (Leila Bekhti) even becomes a little creepy, when for awhile it appears Alain, may be contemplating some sort of romantic overtones with Jeanne, who is all of half his age and may be more. It's an odd storyline that feels better suited to a completely different film.

    One aspect the movie succeeds quite well with, is underlining the therapeutic benefits of animals. Alain's cute dog Sam, pointedly remains faithful, to his master, even when many of his human colleagues abandon any form of relationship with the fallen CEO. These inter-species relationships are further played up in visits to zoos and parks.

    The film's third act features some very attractive on - location visuals, that differ markedly from the film's earlier urban settings, as Alain, accompanied by Sam, attempts to sort his priorities out whilst adopting the mantle of a peregrino, taking on the famous Camino di Santiago extended walking trip between France and Spain.

    This is a light, frothy, entirely forgettable, feel good piece that plays out longer than it should. That Alain eventually comes out on top, regaining much of his humanity, should not be much of a surprise to anyone. It's a pity that it takes such an unbalanced, circuitous route in getting there. 5.5/10