Two unlikely friends — a supply teacher and a lonely young boy suspended between two estranged parents — embark on a weekend motorcycle voyage full of surprises and unforeseen consequences in this surprisingly tough, unsentimental drama from acclaimed French actress and director Nicole Garcia.
This is an exquisite, deeply affecting, and unlikely love story of great resonance that gains in momentum with every passing sequence. Un beau dimanche is sublimely detailed and complex, structured to reveal its secrets gradually, gaining in emotive strength as it does.
It all starts from the simplest of premises. One day a supply teacher befriends a young boy waiting alone outside school for a parent who is late for pickup. When the teacher, Baptiste, extends a helping hand to young Mathias, neither can imagine where this gesture will lead.
Their voyage is magical, full of surprises and unintended consequences, and director Nicole Garcia does a superb job negotiating a storyline that she invests with a direct, unsentimental tone. Not that her film is devoid of emotion, even romance — but when these arise, they are treated with a beautiful simplicity that becomes the hallmark of this persuasive work.
It transpires that Mathias is suspended between two estranged parents. His father has forgotten that this is his weekend with his son, and Baptiste ends up looking after the boy. What follows is a journey of discovery and reconciliation. Mathias goes in search of his mother, and she will be the key to unlocking secrets buried in the distant past.
Two disconnected drifters, suspicious of
attachment, wary of commitment, become
fellow travellers. Their worlds could not
be more different. One lives in chaos and
uncertainty, the other is in retreat from life.
The attractions of Un beau dimanche lie not
only in its narrative pleasures, but in the
superb performances by Louise Bourgoin
and Pierre Rochefort, and a fine cameo by
the incomparable Dominique Sanda.