A MIFF lesson – if you’ve booked a film, give it a go. I thought of staying in bed this morning and missing My Life as a Courgette and this French coming of age drama. I’m so glad I didn’t. They were both wonderful, sad, poignant and heartwarming. Tales of the value of the friendships we make, the pain of making ourselves vulnerable and the way this opens us up to the love of others.
Set in rural France, Damien and Thomas are in the same class at school but seem to always antagonise each other. Thomas lives on a farm in the mountains, trekking to school each day through the snow. Damien’s mother is a doctor, his father a helicopter pilot in the army, present often only by Skype. Circumstances bring the boys together and they battle with the tricky emotions of a slowly emerging friendship.
There is a lot to love about this film. It’s sense of place is beautiful, the landscape shows the differences between the boys but also provides space for them to find each other. The three main characters – the two boys and Damien’s mother – are absorbing and believable in their vulnerability. They pull you so far into their world that you feel their sorrow and their joy.
Bechdel test – pass