wed 19/06/2024

Two Tickets to Greece review - the highs and lows of a holiday from hell | reviews, news & interviews

Two Tickets to Greece review - the highs and lows of a holiday from hell

Two Tickets to Greece review - the highs and lows of a holiday from hell

Laure Calamy, Olivia Côte and Kristin Scott Thomas star in a silly French comedy

Smile please: Olivia Côte, Laure Calamy, Kristin Scott Thomas and Panos Koronis©Chloe Kritharas; Jerome Prebois; Greenwich Entertainment

Two women were best friends at school but they haven’t seen each other in years. One is an uptight divorcée, the other a free spirit. They have nothing in common any more but go on holiday to Greece together. A recipe for disaster, or what?

Laure Calamy, Olivia Côte (pictured below) and Kristin Scott Thomas star in Call My Agent’s writer-director Marc Fitoussi’s sentimental, not very funny French comedy. The ageless Calamy is full of zest as the irrepressible, intensely irritating Magalie, while Côte, as sensible Blandine, is an effective enough counterfoil – and she does have a refreshingly sharp tongue at times.

Scott Thomas, with a mane of white wavy hair, channelling a Mamma-Mia-ish vibe, is resplendent as Bijou, a Brit who makes jewellery in Greece. But it’s all so silly that it’s difficult to care much about any of them. Though the Cyclades look lovely.

We first meet the girls as charming teenagers in 1989. Their characters are already set in stone: Blandine (played as a child by Leelou Laridan) is cautious, Magalie (Marie Mallia) the opposite. But they complement each other and both are obsessed with Luc Besson’s film The Big Blue, set on the Greek island of Amorgos, and are determined to go there together. But they fall out (over a boy) and drift apart long before that can happen.

2ticketsUntil 2019, that is, when Blandine’s 20-year-old son Benjamin (Alexandre Desrousseaux), determined to get his mother out of the depressive rut she’s fallen into since her husband left her for a younger woman, tracks down her old friend, who she describes to him as “the funniest girl on earth”, on Facebook and contrives a reunion in an Indian restaurant in Paris.

It’s not a success. Loud, brash Magalie – as a child she persuaded Blandine that her father invented Tippex  lives in Montmartre and is a music journalist, though she’s taking a break because her editors want her to write about “chicks with Auto-Tune voices” while what she’s into is old-school New York disco.

Blandine, straight and buttoned-up, is a radiology technician and lives in the suburbs. “Super serious,” says Magalie, remembering what a brilliant roller-blader her friend was back in the day. She spills some food on her shirt – aggravating because it still has the label on and she tends to wear things once, then take them back to the shop. Blandine is not amused. Her friend isn't so funny any more.

However, she doesn’t want to disappoint her son, so gives him a positive report on the meeting. Unwisely, because she was planning to take Benjamin to Amorgos and finally visit its cliff-side monastery, as well as stay in a luxury spa hotel. Benjamin again takes charge, deciding that this is his mother’s chance to recapture her youth, and asks Magalie to go instead of him. Blandine is horrified but finally gives in. Much exasperation awaits.

2ticketsMagalie, who’s dyed her hair blonde for the holiday, embraces life to a deranged degree. She almost causes an incident on the plane when she finds out that Blandine has never slept with anyone except her ex. “I’m a bit over the top,” she admits. “One friend calls me tinnitus.” Her iPod (a bit retro for 2019) is her most treasured possession, and, appalled by the music in cafes and clubs, she’s forever plugging it in and singing and dancing to Young Hearts by Candi Staton. This doesn’t always go down well.

She’s also very mean with money, and buys ferry tickets to the first island en route rather than Amorgos, leaving them stranded on semi-deserted Kinaros where there’s one hostel, patronised by a party of old German archaeologists. Blandine is furious. Never mind, Magalie’s happy – she’s always happy, apparently, though of course hidden trauma lurks – because there are also surfers, namely Maxime (Nicolas Bridet), a Belgian, who takes a shine to Blandine. But she’s not ready for anything except a kiss. Unlike Magalie.

Back on the ferry, they fall asleep, miss the stop for Amorgos and end up on Mykonos instead, where Bijou, a friend of Magalie’s, enters the picture with panache (Kristin Scott Thomas, pictured above). An aristocrat – “I was born in a castle in Kent” – turned wild child, she lives with Dimitris (Panos Koronis), a benevolent Greek who speaks no French. Like Magalie, she’s horrified that Blandine hasn’t had sex for two years. “I won’t let you waste away,” she declares, offering her Dimitris, just because he’s there.

After yet another disagreement, this time over the Belgian surfer – Blandine is furious that Magalie went off with him without telling her – Blandine finally makes it to Amorgos, alone. But maybe she’s changing, embracing life? At the end, there’s hugging. Lessons are learned. Even the roller blades make an appearance. 

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