Movie Review: Les Beaux Jours (2013)



Does it mean looking back at the good days or ahead? I am glad it was the latter, it means the film kept melodrama to minimal: no reminiscence. I spoke of Blue is the Warmest Color (2014), a film about coming-of -age, sexual awakening, of a 18 year-old girl. On other end, we have a film of a grown woman with her episode of sexual reawakening, and soul rediscovery.

Famous French comédienne Fanny Ardant played a retired dentist, Caroline, who is searching for her post-successful-career identity. Her daughters, Chantal(Fanny Cottençon) and Sylviane(Catherine Lachens), are mothers themselves, with toddlers and baby. Caroline husband, Roger(Jean-François Stévenin), is still working and doesn’t want to think about retirement yet. She is alone or lonely during the day; time is her enemy: too much.

As birthday present, Chantal gave Caroline paid vouchers for her to take courses at Les Beaux Jours, a community learning center for seniors. Her first is a lesson in acting. The instructor asks her to laugh from her guts to express her true emotions. Caroline, on stage, can barely open her mouth, feels humiliated as a trained professional, abruptly stands and runs out of the class. At the entrance, she runs into a sportive bearded younger man, Philippe(Patrick Chesnais), who is another instructor of the center. 

One day, Caroline asks her husband to fix their WiFi connection, cause it has not been working. Rogers asks her to call for repairs. Instead she goes to the center and takes a computer course. Philippe is the instructor, she explains her problem at home with Internet, but his class doesn’t cover technical problems. Caroline finishes her class, and on way to her car. Philippe stops her at the entrance, asks her if she will take a look at his teeth, they have been bothering him for weeks. She looks in his mouth and teeth, and discovers cavities, and loose crown. He asks if she knows any dentist that could help him: she ends up fixing them herself.

“Are your flirting with me?”, asks Caroline, when she is having her dessert and wine after lunch. They kiss in her car, and he fondles her breasts. She stops and pushes him away.

Their liaison starts and carries on, in most unusual places, for a while until Roger asks her if she has a lover. “Yes”, she says. His husband is angry with her for not being discreet: people has seen, and been talking.

The ending was, organic and mature. How refreshing that was! ( No husband ambushed his cheating wife and lover with an AK47, or Wife told husband he got it all wrong, her relationship is totally platonic, John is gay!).

WATCH…light and realistic, especially for baby-boomers who might one day experience it first-hand.


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