Other People’s Children is one of those very rare films where you see real life reflected back at you. Its an even rarer film in that it is a film about a step-mother where she isn’t evil or histrionic. It is a glorious blast of fresh air.
The plot of the film concerns Rachel. Married to a wonderful man she is the step mother to his five year old daughter who adores her. She has a near perfect life. Despite being a mother to her husband’s child she still would like one of her own. In formed by her doctor that he window to have a child is closing she has to come to terms with perhaps not being able to have the one thing she wants.
Quietly powerful, this film shines because of the performance of Virginie Efira. A beautifully modulated performance she manages to say so much with each look and movement. It’s a stunning performance that isn’t showy, but which kicks you in the heart. She clearly knows how luck she is to have what she wants but the need to have a child of her own haunts her. This is the sort of real life performance that the award bodies should be rewarding because it is so hard to pull off, but which they always overlook because it isn’t big and loud and screaming “look at me!”
As I said at the top this is the rare film that feels like we are watching life. Because I am so trained on waiting for a big turn, I was on edge waiting for some giant twist that never came. Life just happened. When the film was done I was pleasantly surprised and I waded into the film again to see it on it’s own terms, free of expectations.
More films should be like this.
Go see this if you are the west coast a the Santa Barbara Film Fest (February 12) or on the east coast at Rendezvous with French Cinema (March 3 and 12)
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