One Fine Morning
It is still a Wednesday and before the new releases start pouring in from tomorrow, I decided to hand pick one content from the International circuit. And it was a film that was in my watchlist for a very long time. With that, I finished watching the French film One Fine Morning which is now streaming on Mubi. The film had previously premiered at the Cannes film festival last year and I was quite looking forward to watching it.
It has been a while since I have explored European cinema which is far from the noise of the commercial space which is the flavour of the country wherein I reside. There is an inherent charm and soothing persona of the films from that part of the world which might be simple and fleeting in a glance but complex and textured when you dig in. And I had similar hopes from One Fine Morning which promised to be a subtly emotional ride. So then does One Fine Morning manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Set in Paris, One Fine Morning explores the conflicting shades of love through complex relationships that the characters of the film share. And it makes for a bittersweet drama that quietly lingers on, long after the film has ended. There is a certain sense of sweetness and escapism with the sourness of reality that makes this story flavourful. The screenplay standing at about 100 minutes is taut and breezy and almost indulges you in the journey of the characters.
The drama opens with the introduction of the protagonist who is a single mother, sharing a warm relationship with her daughter who is her only real support in her eyes. Her husband isn’t with her and she has to take care of her father suffering from a neurodegenetative disease which means the love that she spends on him is one-sided. Soon, she is acquainted with a long lost friend of her husband who is a perfect foil pf escapism for her. The complexities of love set in wherein one on hand she does get love from a married man while on the other hand, the love and care is one-sided with her father.
The proceedings are engaging and indulgent to a point wherein I started to feel for the character of the protagonist. The raw pain in her eyes speaks a thousand words whereas all she had ever longed for was some love and care. But life happened to through challenges at her so much so that the only pure source of love is with her daughter. The characters are really well etched out and the narrative is leisurely paced. While the events are breezy, the writers demand that you dig deeper in the drama to truly understand the character dynamics which is layered. And within each layer, there is bittersweet conflict that is integrated in the drama, much like life!
If you look at it superficially, the drama is devoid of any twists and turns or any tropes of a commercial romantic drama. Yet, the flavour lies in its predictability that has an uncanny resemblance to life. Things aren’t black and white, and often right and wrong is a perspective. From a moral stand point, keeping your ailing father at a nursing home may not be right, but the drama allows the viewers to form your own opinions with respect to the characters. In a heart wrenching scene, when the character of the father doesn’t recognize the protagonist, a mountain of pain within her is transformed in the form of a tear. Yet, life does give her hope when the love of her life does return to her while she has her lone support, her daughter with her all along. Overall, the screenplay is a beautiful rendition on conflicting and complex emotions all categorize under a single category – Love!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are conversational and rather soft with the tone that makes for a lasting impact. The BGM is beautifully heartbreaking and makes for a lingering melancholic feeling that does make its way to your heart. The cinematography with toned down shades of the neighbourhood add an ambience of grief to the surroundings. Also, some beautiful moments of intimacy are shot aesthetically. The editing is wonderful and it is symbolic in many ways. Notice the deliberate attempt at recreating an ice-cream, signifying second chances in life. Director Mia Hanson-Love does a splendid job in exploring the subtle nuances of conflicted emotions without getting too melodramatic. Her control of her craft was beautiful and she did a brilliant job overall as far as the direction was concerned.
The performances are beautiful in every sense of the word. Pascal Greggory as Georg is absolutely splendid to watch in a nuanced and gut wrenching performance. Melvil Poupaud as Clement is wonderfully restrained in a character who is vulnerable and dealing with his own set of issues. Lea Seydoux as Sandra is such a prolific performer and just notice her eyes here that speak a thousand words. The raw pain is beautifully showcased through her heartfelt performance that allows you time to sympathize with her and pacify her at times.
One Fine Morning is a bittersweet tale of love and loss that deals with conflicting emotions in the most subtly nuanced manner. Available on Mubi and Highly Recommended!