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The Innocent


Year: 2022 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Louis Garrel 
Starring: Louis Garrel, Roschdy Zem, Noémie Merlant  
An image from The Innocent

This French crime film strikes an elegant balance between a heartfelt drama and a hilarious comedy with a nice bit of romance added in which makes for a blend that works incredibly well. This mix of genres could have easily fallen flat and came across as unfocussed, yet this film pulls it off which allows the film to take advantage of the best parts of each genre. The drama elements result in serious emotional scenes where characters clash over what is right and if they really know what they want, there are hilarious comedy sequences which take advantage of the ridiculousness of every situation to deliver genuine laughs, and romance which makes every scene and the film overall feel more impactful as it highlights the shifts of relationships between people who really care for each other. The impressive performances are further what allows this blend of genres to work, as so many scenes feature serious performances which can then smoothly shift to being comedic without making either less effective. The punchy soundtrack mirrors this blending of genres, and means every scene feels supported tonally not just by the acting, but further the music choice which can shift and flex as easily as the genre. This results in a film which manages to do so many different things right, creating a wonderfully well-rounded film that still maintains a unique feel.

The plotline is based around Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg), an older woman who has fallen in love with a man named Michel (Roschdy Zem) and recently married him. The only twist is that Michel is a former criminal and the two got married in the prison he is kept in. They both want to start a new life together with a plan to open a flower shop together to get a clean slate and so Michel can earn an honest living for a change. However, Sylvie's son Abel (Louis Garrel), does not trust Michel and is convinced he will return to his old criminal ways. Distrusting of their relationship, Abel seeks out to protect his mother and find out more about Michel to prove that he will not keep his promises. When ensues is a funny yet heartfelt story which will have you emotionally invested in one minute and laughing in another

James Patt

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Screenings of this film:

2023/2024 Autumn Term (digital)