Film Review: Les Yeux de sa Mère

Français : Catherine Deneuve

This is a 2011 French film, starring Catherine Deneuve and the title translates as ‘His Mother’s Eyes’. It was a very random pick, I just wanted to watch something to pass an otherwise boring Sunday evening and this was it.

For once I’m going to take a break from tradition. I don’t normally recount the plot in my film reviews but in this case I don’t think you’ll lose anything and in fact I reckon you’ll need all the help you can get.

The first challenge is that the dialogue in the opening scene is in fact in Spanish. It took me a little while to realise that this wasn’t heavily accented French by which time we’d moved on to other things. Anyway, the first scene introduces us to Maria who is a classical dancer and a Spanish lady (Judit) who appears to be her mother and a man who might be her father, but he’s already dead by the time we get going so it doesn’t matter too much. Just to let you know so you don’t get as confused as I did, Maria and Judit speak (mostly) Spanish when they’re together. Next we meet 50-something Lena (Deneuve) who’s a famous news anchor, and 30-something Matthieu who gets himself hired as Lena’s PA. Later on we meet 20 year-old Bruno. They all speak French. Now it starts to get complicated.

It turns out that Matthieu is an undercover author who writes books about the secret lives of celebrities and he’s got his eye on Lena. At the same time Matthieu meets Maria in the street and tells her that they used to know each other.  She doesn’t bother to enquire how as she has a taxi to catch, but the two of them anyway become friends.  Time passes, things happen and it turns out that the Spanish lady isn’t Maria’s mother – Lena is (which left me mighty puzzled as to who the Spanish lady was but hey, a minor detail). Then Maria reveals to Matthieu that she gave up a child (Bruno) for adoption after she fell pregnant at the age of 16 and she is trying to establish contact with him. Matthieu takes it upon himself to track him down. We begin to suspect that Matthieu might be Bruno’s father (despite Maria appearing to have totally forgotten ever meeting him). Meanwhile Maria gets run over by a car (it’s astonishing how often dancers get run over by cars – think Black Swan) and while looking for something else, Lena discovers she has a grandchild – Bruno. She also takes it upon herself to track him down and bring him to his dying mother’s bedside. Poor Bruno, meanwhile, has developed a man-crush on Matthieu who, despite enjoying a hearty snog with his potential son, rebuffs him.

Well, if you’ve followed all this so far, I might as well tell you that Maria makes a full recovery, Bruno is reconciled with his natural mother, and they all live happily ever after. Whew!

Unless you’re into Deneuve films, challenging plots,  or just very very bored, I’d probably steer clear of this one.

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