sat 06/06/2020

I Got Life! review - fresh French comic realism | reviews, news & interviews

I Got Life! review - fresh French comic realism

I Got Life! review - fresh French comic realism

An enchanting portrait of middle-aged women refusing to grow old

Still got it: Agnès Jaoui in 'I Got Life!'

I Got Life!, originally released in France as Aurore, is a lovely, funny low-budget comedy that should definitely appeal to female movie-goers with a fondness for quirky, feisty women d’un certain age. It’s the kind of film that one would probably go to with a girlfriend rather than a male date… even though it would do middle-aged men a world of good to see it.

Fabulous Agnès Jaoui, who also collaborated on the script with director Blandine Lenoir, stars as Aurore, an amicably divorced mother of two adult daughters, living in La Rochelle. She’s going through the menopause with annoying hot flushes and the realisation that she’s become invisible to men, even ones her own age, who seek out younger girlfriends.

The bar she works at has been taken over by a boorish new propriétaire who can’t be bothered to call her by her real name and insists that she is now Samantha and should be confined behind the bar. She needs a new job and a new lover, especially as her older daughter has just announced that she’s expecting a baby and the younger one is besotted with a selfish young oaf and leaving home. Aurore and her gutsy gal pal Mano (Pascale Arbillot, pictured below with Jaoui) aren’t willing to embrace sexless grandmotherly status just yet and they embark on amorous adventures involving old school mates (twinkly Thibault de Montalembert) and strangers. I Got Life!It’s fascinating to see everyday body fascism towards middle-aged women being tackled head on by French filmmakers – France is after all the country famous not only for its flirtatious culture but a nation which performs five times more bariatric surgery operations per year than the UK. It’s lovely too to witness a light-touched fight-back at grotesque stereotypes in a mainstream French comedy. While I Got Life! is not always entirely credible in its plotting – there’s one lucky coincidence too many and a perhaps over-hasty happy ending – this is still a highly enjoyable little gem of a movie.

Nina Simone belts out "I Got Life" on the soundtrack, there’s a cute reference to the William Wellman classic male-female grooming movie A Star is Born and clips of the late feminist anthropologist Françoise Héritier woven in. It’s interesting to compare I Got Life! with the over-engineered movies such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel that the British turn out or last year's frenetic Debra Winger vehicle, The Lovers. There’s a freshness and everyday comic realism to I Got Life! which puts those films to shame. It’s not as ambitious a piece of filmmaking stylistically as 20th Century Women which tackled similar themes, but it is warmly recommended.


Overleaf: watch the trailer for I Got Life!

It’s fascinating to see everyday body fascism towards middle-aged women being tackled head on by French filmmakers


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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