Ma vie en rose

Director: Alain Berliner

A charming comic fable with a tart edge, Alain Berliner’s ebullient debut feature starts with smart couple Pierre (Jean-Philippe Ecoffey) and Hanna (Michele Laroque) moving into a smart but bland Parisian suburb with their family. Eager to befriend their neighbours, they host a housewarming party. All goes swimmingly until their seven-year-old son Ludovic (Georges Du Fresne) makes his appearance in a sugary confection of tulle – the perfect fairy princess. The prim neighbours are not amused. Pierre and Hanna are somewhat distraught. Is Ludovic going through a girlish phase or is there something significant going on?
Berliner’s film sensitively teases out the conundrum at hand as the family attempts to come to grips with their son’s perception of himself. And when they seem to let him down, Ludovic disappears into a fabulous world of his own making, one that is art directed in the candy kitsch colours of Pierre et Giles and ruled over by Pam, a Barbie-like doll who revels in all that is feminine. The young Du Fresne is that rare child actor who can convey an extraordinary range of emotion, for while Berliner and scriptwriter Chris Vander Stappen extol and delight as Ludovic makes his particular stand, we are also made to share a sense of fear and even guilt as the little boy discerns that all might not be well. Laroque (surely here proving that she is one of France’s finest comediennes) and Ecoffey are superb as the parents torn by what they perceive to be a thorny problem. But it is tolerance and acceptance of individuals for what they might be that this film is finally about, as it bubbles with energy and ideas, heralding a future that can only be rosy.

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