french films > Stolen Holidays

Stolen Holidays

Stolen Holidays

cast: Bernadette Lafont, Claude Brasseur, Adèle Crech

year: 2006

colour: yes

certificate:

director: Olivier Peyon

runtime: 90

Given the flip, sentimental treatment that older actors usually have to settle for in English-language cinema, the plot of Olivier Peyon's film may initially sound alarm bells: an elderly woman takes her two grandchildren for an extended holiday. But the subtlety and seriousness of the best French cinema make Stolen Holidays a road movie-cum-psychological drama of a very trenchant kind. Bernadette Lafont plays Danielle, entrusted with looking after her two grandchildren - a trusting young boy and a teenage girl going through the first angry throes of rebellion. But as the children's parents go through their own traumas, Danielle decides to go AWOL with the kids, leading them on an odyssey into the Swiss mountains - a journey during which family relations, and her own troubled soul, are tested to the limit. Poignant, sometimes nerve-racking and utterly engrossing, Stolen Holidays is a superbly controlled drama, and a terrific showcase for first-generation muse of the nouvelle vague. This could be Lafont's finest role yet - an ambivalent, troubled character who gradually reveals her complexity. A warm but no-nonsense appearance by veteran Claude Brasseur adds to the pleasure.

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