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The Adopted (2 stars)

Quirky, saccharine directorial debut from French actress Melanie Laurent

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The Adopted

(15) 100 mins

Still only 28-years-old, French actress and musician Melanie Laurent makes her directorial debut with this offbeat family tale, which owes more to her recent performances in US indie Beginners and the sentimental melodrama The Concert than to her career-launching role as the Jewish avenging angel in Quentin Tarantino’s WW2 revenge fantasy Inglorious Basterds. Split into three chapters, The Adopted concerns a pair of sisters in contemporary Lyon: aspiring musician and single mother Lisa (Laurent herself) and her more optimistic adopted sibling, bookshop assistant and Charade-lover Marie (Marie Denarnaud). Disrupting the emotional rapport between these women is a tough but tender restaurant critic Alex (Denis Menochet); the latter sweeps Marie off her feet, swiftly incurring Lisa’s jealousy.

Clearly aiming for a ‘quirky’, fable-like atmosphere, Laurent favours strangely deserted locations and near-focus compositions that reflect the emotional confusion of her creations. The most interesting character however, the alcoholic middle-aged mother Millie (Clementine Celarie), is notably underused, and the film hammers home its saccharine coming-to-terms-with-life message. It pales in comparison to Julian Schnabel’s thematically linked, but far more bold and imaginative, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Selected release from Fri 24 Feb.

The Adopted Trailer (2012)

The Adopted

  • 2 stars
  • 2011
  • France
  • 100 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Melanie Laurent
  • Written by: Melanie Laurent, Morgan Perez, Christophe Deslandes
  • Cast: Marie Denarnaud, Denis Menochet, Melanie Laurent, Clementine Celarie
  • UK release: 17 February 2012

Marie (Denarnaud) and Lisa (Laurent) are sisters in contemporary Lyon whose relationship is disrupted when restaurant critic Max (Menochet) sweeps Marie off her feet. In her debut feature as director, Laurent aims for a fable-like atmosphere but the film hammers home its message and the most interesting character…

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