I can see why such a movie could be so easily dismissed by your regular Hollywood addict, it's slow, rather smart and very much grounded in reality, and it's your typical Parisian literary approach to cinema story telling. Although I should emphasize the fact that I don't use the word typical in a derogatory way. Desplechin, Podalydes, Bonitzer, Resnais and other French directors, may seem stylistically or thematically close, but in truth are very different from one another. They take movies seriously, the European way, for them it's not about plot or sending a clear message to the viewer, they're more concerned with lofty concepts, creating a mood or simply sharing their views on the human condition. So yes, the protagonist is an intellectual (so is Bonitzer, he used to be a philosophy teacher) and yes, the thing happening to him may not seem to warrant a 2 hour movie, his life is boring, and so is often our own. Bonitzer, shows the naked truth, and it's risky, because that's not why most people go to movies, and I get that, but the movie is actually fun (in parts),never sentimental but sincere and touching. It's a fine movie, honest, solid, definitely worthy of the price of admission. It's very French and definitely naturalistic and intellectual, but pretentious it is not, but to put it simply, it'll be freezing in Hell before Bonitzer starts dumbing down his movies!
Damien Hauer (Jean-Pierre Bacri) is a professor of Chinese civilization. But now he has a problem. He has promised Iva Delusi (Dame Kristin Scott Thomas),his life companion, to ask his father Sébastien Hauer (Claude Rich),a state councilor, to intervene in favor of Zorica Aurore (Isabelle Carré),an illegal alien. In theory, Sébastien is influential enough to keep Zorica from being deported, but the trouble is that he has always despised his son. As for Damien, he hates his father. It looks as if Zorica is not on track to stay in the country for much longer.
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