Review: Ôtez-moi d’un doute (2017)

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Ôtez-moi d’un doute (2017)

Directed by: Carine Tardieu | 95 minutes | comedy, drama | Actors: François Damiens, Cécile De France, Guy Marchand, André Wilms, Alice de Lencquesaing, Estéban, Lyès Salem, Sam Karmann, Brigitte Roüan, Julie Debazac, Loïc Baylacq, Nadège Beausson-Diagne, Heiko Dethier, Hervé Pierre, Emmanuelle Michelet, Alban Aumard, Anna Gaylor, Soumaye Bocoum, Guillaume Clémencin, Perrette Souplex

When Erwan Gourmelon, in his fifties, learns during a routine investigation that his father is not his real father, his world briefly collapses. After initial shock, he hires a detective, discovers who his real father is and tries to bond with this old man. And with his dog Pinochet. During the same period, he meets the attractive doctor Anna, whom he soon starts dating. Until he finds out that he and Anna may have a little too much in common. What Erwan is also concerned about is the question of who is the father of the child of his pregnant daughter Juliette. Juliette herself doesn’t know either, except that she’s pregnant at a party, by a boy dressed as Zorro.

Does this all sound a bit farcical? It may be true, because the French comedy ‘Ôtez-moi d’un doute’ has all the narrative characteristics of a farce. Not only the story is farcical, so is the interpretation. So here we get misunderstanding after misunderstanding, secret after secret, cheerfully bickering characters and the occasional slapstick-like scenes. The humor is of the typically French kind, a kind that is easy to recognize but less easy to describe.

What makes ‘Ôtez-moi d’un doute’ special is that the farce is cast in the mold of the art house comedy. That is, we are miles away from the stage farce and the movies inspired by it. The images are of the semi-documentary type and the dialogues are commonplace, so that the level of reality (despite the silly story) is always high. This realism is reinforced by the interpretation of the characters, who here are much more than characters (the rebellious daughter, the goofy friend, etc.) and therefore also know how to move. Those characters are also excellently played by top class performers such as François Damiens and Cécile De France.

A film like ‘Ôtez-moi d’un doute’ proves that even an old-fashioned genre like the farce can last for many years to come. And that you can even empathize with characters who go from one craziness to the next. In short, if you’re ready for a French comedy without Omar Sy and without false sentiment, you can enjoy this fine film.

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