Film review: A very French take on sexuality

Published by the Alternate Dream

Me, Myself and Mum

France 2013

Directed by Guillaume Gallienne

My rating: 2 out of 5

The categorical dividing of films into one-word themes in this year’s festival means we are bound to think of them along with these categories. Gallienne’s effortful film comes in the “Laugh” category and judged on this basis, it doesn’t fare very well. I.e. it’s unfortunately not very funny.

The coming-to-age-story of a boy who is taught to be a girl, primarily by his mom, has its moments. It deserves the adjective “effortful,” not least because the director plays both the main character and the mom. The film is certainly watchable but your correspondent just doesn’t dig this “trying to be deep” films that are the staple of European ‘art’ cinema.

The knowledge of the French relationship with sexuality and homosexuality is one that shouldn’t be taken as granted by the uninitiated. This is the country where you have the rather bizarre sight of republican feminists who unite with the Catholic church to oppose gay marriage. The film can thus be good as an example of this very French treatment of the subject. But it could help if it was more funny and if it, heavens forbid, had a more straight story-line and more developed characters. These ‘art’ films seem to oddly avoid these on purpose.

That the film was a ‘surprise’ audience hit in the Cannes tells a lot about the taste of festival-goers; This taste itself begs a critique more than the film.  (Take it as ‘off the record,’ that your correspondent sometimes thinks French might have had slightly misunderstood the whole art of cinema. Since the best film he has seen this year is from France, he feels more encouraged to pronounce these heretical thoughts.)

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