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My Father and I (2001)

Cast: Michel Bouquet, Michel Bouquet, Charles Berling, more...
Director: Anne Fontaine, Anne Fontaine
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: New Yorker Video
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Spain
Running Time: 100 min.
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When the grown-up children of a missing parent are reunited with their father, they discover it raises more questions than it answers in a well-crafted mood piece from writer/director Anne Fontaine. Jean-Luc (Charles Berling) is a well-to-do physician whose practice is devoted to older patients, many of whom are forced to confront their fears about death. While Jean-Luc is used to dealing with such issues, they come home for him one day when he learns that his father has died. The news prompts Jean-Luc to look back at his younger days, and his difficult relationship with his dad, Maurice (Michel Bouquet), who ran out on his family when Jean-Luc was a boy and returned after he'd grown to adulthood with few explanations about where he'd gone (he became a volunteer physician in the Third World) and why he left his wife and children behind. Growing up in an air of uncertainty has had an impact on Jean-Luc's relationship with his wife Isa (Natacha Regnier); neither is certain of how to reach out to one another, and Jean-Luc sometimes seeks comfort in the arms of Myriem (Amira Casar), an assistant in his office. Maurice's absence also took its toll on Jean-Luc's brother, Patrick (Stephane Guillon), who deals with his anxieties by pursuing a career as a comic, while earning his keep as Jean-Luc's driver. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Daddy Do-Nothing by talltale August 28, 2004 - 4:24 PM PDT
7 out of 8 members found this review helpful
Anne Fontaine continues to slip in stature after her marvelous "Dry Cleaning" of some years back. 2003's "Natalie" wasn't much, and neither is 2002's MY FATHER AND I (named originally and more properly "How I Killed My Father"). This film offers up enormous talent put, finally, to little use. Fontaine's insistence on stilted and constant close-ups, an unvarying pace (slow) and the promise of revelation and understanding that never come (to the characters or the audience) results in a movie that doesn't deliver--even when it appears to. Charles Berling is perhaps the finest actor working today when it comes to portraying ice-in-the-veins; Natacha Regnier gets a chance to play "class" instead of "working class," and she does a fine job; Stephan Guillon is attractive and appealing as the "lesser" brother (although the idea that his stage monologues are in any way unusual, hilarious or cutting-edge is laughable--unless the French are decades behind Americans with sort of thing, which I doubt); and, as the titular father, Michel Bouquet (one of France's last remaining "greats") is exemplary. Good acting, however, adds up to little in a movie that purports to some kind of psychological realism but simply hammers home a single point.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.00)
7 Votes
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