Ah, Catherine Deneuve. Gorgeous, vital, and sexy at 70-odd — and in a way completely suited to her age, and not like she’s aspiring to youth long gone — she remains a goddess. Even as– nay because she here portrays a down-to-earth, realistically human woman whose life is a mess. Deneuve’s (Persepolis) Bettie runs a financially strapped restaurant in the small French village she grew up in. Her very elderly mother is a stroppy handful. Her married lover has just left his wife… for a much younger other other woman. Fed up with it all, she gets in her car one Sunday afternoon, right in the middle of lunch service, and drives off. With no destination in mind. Her spur-of-the-moment road trip ends up more extended than she could have anticipated when her estranged daughter (French pop star Camille) calls with emergency babysitting needs. So now Bettie is on a road trip with her 11ish grandson, Charly (Nemo Schiffman), who isn’t the nicest kid ever (though he has his reasons, too). Writer (with Jérôme Tonnerre) and director Emmanuelle Bercot crafts a beautifully observant meander through the difficulties and discoveries of an age closer to the end of life than to the beginning of it, one full of variously hilarious and touching and terrifying encounters with younger people so sure of themselves and older people whose clinging to the pleasures and pains of life hint at even more troubled times to come. Love and sex and cigarettes and wine and dining outdoors: we should all live as happily, even when we’re unhappy, as the French do.
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