Me, Myself and Mum
Award-winning French comedy from Guillaume Gallienne that'll amuse and bemuse
Me, Myself and Mum has been one of French cinema's surprise crowd-pleasers over the past 18-months. Feted at Cannes 2013, it was also showered with César awards, including Best Film. You suspect British audiences might regard it as more of an acquired taste but once you adjust to the exuberant theatricality and goofy comedy it does start to grow on you.
Comédie-Française veteran and Alan Davies lookalike (it's the shaggy perm) Guillaume Gallienne has transformed his semi-autobiographical one-man stage show into a mixture of confession and family therapy. He plays both himself and his sour, domineering mother who raises her little boy as the girl she never had. Guillaume explains that she has been 'in a bad mood since I was born'.
His two brothers are treated as rugged, macho lads whilst camp, sensitive Guillaume has holidays in Spain, learning to dance and prance before discovering he has been taught all the traditional female moves. Everyone assumes that drama queen Guillaume is gay and it is never something that he thinks to question. His epic voyage of self-discovery takes him from Britain to a Bavarian spa, as the film blossoms into a quirky, trial-and-error coming-of-age fantasy in which he finally makes his mind up about where his sexual identity might lie.
The charm of Me, Myself and Mum comes from Gallienne's likable, energetic performance and from the film's resolute good cheer, even when it flirts with darker material and dubious taste. Gallienne has the guileless manner of Harpo Marx and succeeds in drawing out some emotional truth and honesty from a film that initially threatens to be like spending an entire evening in the company of Jack from Will & Grace.
Selected release from Fri 5 Dec.