César-winning French cinema icon Fanny Ardant stars in this sophisticated and sexy drama about a married woman in her sixties tumbling into an affair with a much younger man.
Bright Days Ahead
Fanny Ardant is a true icon of French stage and cinema. Her striking beauty is heightened by a fierce intelligence, her cool authority undercut by sensuousness. Each of these essential qualities is carefully woven into her portrayal of Caroline, the star of Marion Vernoux's Bright Days Ahead, an absorbing drama about erotic reawakening and the renewal of one's sense of self.
Having recently relieved herself of a career in dentistry — "If you have to give something up, you might as well do it on a whim," she says — sexagenarian retiree Caroline decides to try out the membership to a seniors' club her daughters recently gave her as a gift. But the club's activities seem geared to infantilize its participants, and Caroline aborts the venture after only a brief sampling. One thing, though, has caught her interest: Julien (Laurent Lafitte), the club's handsome computer instructor, an unabashed womanizer roughly half her age. Julien brazenly flirts with Caroline during an impromptu lunch date, and soon after they tumble into a full-on affair. Rules are set, yet Caroline seems to like courting danger, taking her lover to places she knows they might be seen and telling lies to her husband (Patrick Chesnais) that could easily be discovered.
After abandoning her career, Caroline now seems to be throwing her marriage away, too. Or is she simply looking for a way to start everything afresh?
Mature, reckless, and tastefully racy: these adjectives could just as easily be applied to Bright Days Ahead as a whole as to Ardant's captivating performance. This is an adult movie in the best sense: not merely ribald but smart, resonant, erotic and deeply satisfying.