Sex, affairs, a crisis in life, and a snobby knowledge of wine – this is a very French film indeed. It’s also disappointingly vacuous. For a birthday present, Caroline (Fanny Ardant) receives a trial to a social club for older people. Drama, pottery, table tennis, computer skills, what more could anyone need? Apart from a handsome fella more than twenty years your junior, that is. Caroline strikes up a relationship with the club’s IT instructor, Julien (Laurent Lafitte) and they have an affair.
Caroline never seems to have enough reason to be unsatisfied with her life and marriage, nor is she particularly sympathetic which makes it a really difficult film to warm to. After a promising start, the film’s main flaw is nothing much happens. They have a lot of sex and drink a lot of wine and there’s really nothing going on beyond a rather tedious surface of a cross-generational relationship. They don’t even really talk or get to know each other, they just spend time together. The performances are actually quite dull and by the end it’s not clear what we’ve learnt about the characters, nor what they’ve learnt about themselves. The only thing I left considering is why healthy 60 year olds see the need to attend these retirement day centres? An expensive and early first foot into the grave.
Bright Days Ahead is out on 20/06/14 in the UK. Running time 94 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).
Review by David Rank