The more I watch modern movies, the more I realize how quickly they move. It’s dull. By the time a scene begins, it must immediately establish its purpose and get out. Movies are no longer becoming stories, but a lineup of scenes that play out like a series of dominoes.
Movies only last a brief amount of time; two hours is nothing even compared to the rest of your 24-hour day. Why not savor every minute and use that time to get a better understanding of what’s going on? This sort of delight is still available, but you have to look a little bit.
The latest import from France is a perfect example of a movie establishing its own pace in service of its characters. After being immobilized due to an accident, the wealthy Philippe (Francois Cluzet) needs a new caretaker. Bored by the typical lot, he hires Driss (Omar Sy) on a temporary basis.
A friendship between an upper-class businessman and a free-spirited inner city man is not an original concept. The fact that it’s a true story helps in its earnest simplicity, but all of the formulaic aspects are barely noticeable. Cluzet and Sy could have done the movie “My Dinner With Andre”-style if they wished because they are so charismatic when they are together.
When the movie goes for scenes larger in scale, they still appear as intimate because the characters are the ones truly in focus. If their progression isn’t truthful, then the movie is a sham. The movie cannot just loudly proclaim they are friends; it must be earned.
Aside from its unnecessary opening, the movie trusts its own strengths. The lack of ambition is rewarded by the wondrous atmosphere and feeling of hope. This was already a gigantic hit in France and, with the right word-of-mouth, could be one of the biggest crowdpleasers in America this year as well.