Luminous Léa Seydoux confronted with caring for an elderly parent in “ONE FINE MORNING” | REVIEW

Last Updated: January 12, 2023By Tags: , ,

Mia Hansen-Løve’s “One Fine Morning”(“Un beau matin” in the French original) is an intelligent and warm ode to the sorrows and joys of parenting.

A marvelous Léa Seydoux is Sandra, a widow and single mother confronted with a father (Pascal Greggory) who has a disease that is causing the decline of his mental acuity. Sandra is sad, as her father can no longer live alone.

As her mother (Nicole Garcia) are long divorced, Sandra is not only parent to her young daughter, but she is also now having to guide her own father through his final years.

The sadness of having to move her father from facility to facility, searching for the proper care, is made more vexing by the fact that his life was moved by thought, a well-read man of the world that he is.

In a beautiful moment, Sandra goes through her father’s books, lamenting that this is how she knew him best. As she tells her young daughter, “His library is more him… and through these books, his personality expresses itself.”

With an acute understanding of the human condition Hansen-Løve’s screenplay reveals Sandra’s love and heartbreak. The filmmaker tracks her lead character’s struggles through the important men in her life, each one coming and going in a different manner.

When Sandra runs into Clément (Melvil Poupaud), an old friend of her dead husband, the married man and the lonely Sandra are drawn to one another, an affair ensues. Soon, as much as Clément is splitting his heart between two women, Sandra begins sharing her time and heart between her father and her new lover, all the while balancing her job as an interpreter and trying to be the best possible mother to her daughter.

The film’s subtle emotionality resonates because of Seydoux’s distinct control of her own pathos, which Hansen-Løve captures exquisitely.

Seydoux’s Sandra is a person who cannot contain her emotions, yet the actress plays every beat with delicate care. The elegance given to the performance aligns us with the character, as Seydoux crafts a gentle soul, one who reflects our own experiences through her travails.

Stability is what Sandra needs and desires. As Clément cannot leave his wife and she the right care home for her father, her confidence falters. Sandra’s professional skill is to translate languages, but it’s her life issues that are hard to interpret.

Hansen-Løve’s direction is uncomplicated the filmmaker smartly stays out of the way of the character she created and lets Sandra’s life unfold through the precise script and its characters, using Denis Lenoir’s light camerawork.

As Sandra’s life reminds us that there is no going back and we must continue in lockstep with what time reveals to us, “One Fine Morning” softly tells its strong story.

No matter what life throws our way, with heartfelt connection of family and gentle souls to help guide us, as the final song by Bill Fay assures us, “…love will remain.”

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