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MOVIES (LFF 2022): One Fine Morning - Review

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Amazing! An intricate portrayal of a parental generational gap, an affair - all set against the different seasons in Paris making wonderful use of the city of lights. It's an advert for the French capital the way only movie magic can represent - and there are few better at creating movie magic than Mia Hansen-Løve, whose Bergman Island is one of the finest features of 2022 so far - and if this film comes out theatrically in the UK in 2022 there will be two films by the director in my best of the year list. She's just perfect - and arguably the finest European director around right now.

The film's central theme of a woman trying to find out her identity and who she is whilst being involved in an affair with a married man, raising a kid and dealing with a blind, aged father who was a former writer allows for multiple complex narratives to come into play and One Fine Morning makes them all feel hopelessly real. Hansen-Løve; ever excellent with the camera, makes us feel like we're eavesdropping into natural conversations and lives as a hanger-on, the third or fourth person in the room - the dry humour feels awkward as it does realistic - anchored by a stellar cast that really lean into its dialogue. The central star is Lea Seydoux in an excellent post Bond year - delivering arguably her greatest performance. You feel and understand the character of Sandra - who she is and what makes her tick, and the sticky interpersonal politics of the central affair are brought to life in a way that doesn't give you an easy answer - whilst we never see the wife of Pascal Greggory's Georg, we know that it's not easy for him either - but the old saying goes, if they cheat with you they'll cheat on you.

This is just such an empathetic film though, emotionally tender and satisfying in the best possible way. All its emotions feel earnest and real, and there's something about the French nicecore movies that are so much more authentic than most other countries. There's a lot of Éric Rohmer here - but there always is - and the film brings an element of maturity to it that you can't help but be respectful of, there are few movies as smart or as well-defined as this. A really charming portrayal about the messiness of adulthood that would make for a fantastic double feature with The Worst Person in the World - but I'd wager, it's the better of the two.

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