Finding Acceptance And Giving Affection. Dec 7, 2010
This is one of those gentle films that unrolls effortlessly and enticingly through the story, taking time for the viewer to see and comprehend all that is happening.
Antoine Sfozer (Nicholas Cazale), having left his family to their travelling grocery business in the countryside, is enjoying a dissolute, untidy life in the city. His freedom is curtailed by the sudden heart attack of his father. His mother needs him to take over the van until his father is well again. Antoine, feeling trapped, takes along a friend, fancy free Claire to help also. But this is not a film about a selfish son. It's a film about the growth of the inner self, the sudden flowering and delight in the smaller things in life. With Claire's help, Antoine's impatience with, and surliness towards his father's customers gradually changes, altering into caring for them, seeing the value in their very ordinariness. The actors are all superb, with special mention for Liliane Rovere as the eccentric and feisty Lucienne, with hair that is both comical and indicative of her character. But all the actors are believable, from the disapproving older brother, Francois (Stephen Guerin-Tille) and the charming Madame Sfozer (played disarmingly by Jeanne Goupil), to the contemptuous father (Daniel Duval). Nicholas Cazale plays Antoine with a quietness that allow the viewer to warm towards his spiritual growth.
This thoroughly enjoyable and charming film displays elbow-poking humour alongside pathos; the French seem to be able to do this with great finesse. Well worth seeing.