Seen 21st November
The second day of the Lift Off film festival was by far the busiest with two features and several featurettes. This French film is one whose title I’m unsure if I have right because I’ve seen it as “The Ones That Stay” and “The Ones That Stays“, which is the only version of the poster I can find so for this review I’m going to be calling it “The Ones That Stay” because that title makes more sense. You got that? Good, let’s go onto this tale of a man, his father and a hooker.
The Ones That Stay (Also known as Les étoiles restantes) follows Alexandre (Played by Benoit Chauvin), a young man trying to help his father Patrick (Played by Jean Fornerod) through his cancer treatment. His father, however, has had enough of his chemo and decides to just accept what’s going to happen. So while Alexandre tries his best to get a job and help his father, he runs into a woman named Manon (Played by Camille Claris) who he briefly flirts with and ends up insulting… which makes it awkward when he learns that she is now taking over helping Patrick with handling his illness.
The acting in this film is superb, special props to Benoit who straddles the line between awkwardly charming and a total douchebag in a way that doesn’t make you hate him. Normally I’m not a big fan of these characters who seem to not get that being a bit of a dick isn’t exactly the best way to talk to women and yet there is something about him that grows on you. Camille also has to carry the lions share with a character who seems to genuinely enjoy helping Patrick and is slowly growing fond of Alexandre. Also, if I recall correctly, I believe her character might be a prostitute but it’s so casually thrown in that I don’t know if it’s her job or she just said that to mess with Alexandre but either way, I think she is charming as hell. We also have some good comic relief in the form of Loris (Played by Sylvain Mossot) who kind of takes the Kramer role, he’s basically a homebody working in some great book to give other’s advice on how to live their lives while he’s stuck at home not paying rent. He’s genuinely pretty funny and a nice break from the more serious stuff that keeps popping in and out of this movie.
Plotwise this feels a little like a lot of romance movies, with the whole “Oh we hate each other… what? 15 minutes left in the movie? OK, I love you now” thing that every romantic movie pulls and it’s fine, what makes this film work are the characters and their interactions throughout the feature. Scenes that take place in the market between Alexandre and Manon have such cheesy banter that it’s really enjoyable. Anytime Loris pops up with another element to his hairbrained scheme it’s charming as hell and Patrick’s acceptance of his diagnosis and his decision to just forgo treatment ends up creating some genuinely powerful moments.
It’s sweet and charming and will bring out the “Aww” sound more than a few times and really, that’s pretty much all you need in a romantic movie.