Like so many French films, Aurore tells the tale of a middle-aged person rediscovering their spark through love, yet tackles a topic that few movies ever do.
Director Blandine Lenoir worked on the complicatedly-credited script for this character piece with star Agnès Jaoui, who’s in every scene here except one and delivers a gorgeous performance of great warmth and emotional complexity, especially as she’s in the grip of the menopause, a subject that the movies (French or otherwise) don’t like to tackle much. And yet her 50 year old Aurore isn’t despairing about her hormonal issues, as she might well have in an American movie, because there’s far too much going on around her to worry about, as life keeps on crashing in.
Aurore lives with her two grown-up daughters (her simple flashbacks to when they were little kids are beautifully moving), and she’s shown starting a restaurant job she hates, and losing it as she simply can’t stand her slimy boss. She’s also looking to officially divorce from her husband Nanar (funny Philippe Rebbot in one scene), who’s started a new life, something she personally can’t quite seem to do.
When her old boyfriend Christophe Tochard (nicknamed ‘Totoche’ as played by hunky Thibault de Montalembert) reappears, Aurore finds herself understandably falling for him again and recalling her youth with typically sweet European melancholy. But can the slightly hopeless Totoche love her now that she’s soon to be a grandmother and she frequently has to disrobe when suddenly hit by hot flashes?
Some have cruelly criticised Lenoir and Co’s screenplay here for its formless or episodic structure, but that’s like life really, and the characters are all so delightful (Pascale Arbillot as Aurore’s bestie Mano, Samir Guesti in a bemused but crucial bit, and others) that it works anyway. It’s also worth pointing out that so, so many French movies are all about middle-aged people finding love once more and rediscovering their vital spark — but, well, they do them awfully well, don’t they?
Rated M. Aurore is in cinemas now.