Cannes Film Festival, Critics' Week
Anna Novion's debut feature "Grown-ups" is a light comedy that never quite decides whether it is about youthful rites of passage, a summer romance or a dysfunctional father. In combination though these elements are likely to appeal to a wide audience. Deservedly so. Agreeably unpretentious, the movie relies on close observation of individual quirks to exercise its gentle humor which, while never delivering a knock-out blow, delivers firm tweaks to the funny bone.
Novion, who is of mixed Franco-Swedish origin, opts for home ground with her story of Albert (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) and his daughter Jeanne (newcomer Anais Demoustier). Each year he takes her on her birthday to visit a foreign country, and this year, her 17th, it is Sweden.
Arriving at their villa on the island of Orust, they find that there's been a mix-up, with the proprietor, Annika (Lia Boysen), in residence with a longtime French friend, Christine (Judith Henry), and that there's nothing for it but for the couples to cohabit.
Albert, who has brought a metal-detector along with him hoping to unearth relics from the reign of an obscure Viking warrior, proves to be an affectionate but fussy and pedantic father unwilling to allow his daughter to explore her adolescent longings. Jeanne, naturally enough, is becoming interested in boys, and there are plenty on the scene to satisfy that interest. And Christine and Annika each have their sidebar romance angle.
Novion develops a love interest between Albert and Christine but allows it to falter because of Albert's obsessive concern for his daughter.
Similarly, she never brings Jeanne's adolescent yearnings to the boiling point. Instead the movie reaches its dramatic peak in serio-comic vein when Albert becomes marooned on an outlying island. The movie never reaches for the heights, yet undoubtedly achieves more by attempting less.
Production companies: Moteur S'il Vous Plait, DFM Fiktion, Film I Vast
Cast: Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Anais Demoustier, Judith Henry, Lia Boysen, Jakob Eklund, Anastasios Soulis, Bjorn Gustafsson.
Director: Anna Nouvion.
Screenwriters: Anna Nouvion, Beatrice Colombier, Mathieu Robin.
Photography: Pierre Novion.
Production design: Gert Wibe.
Music: Pascal Bideau.
Editor: Anne Souriau.
Sales: Memento Films International
No rating, 84 minutes.