Wednesday, February 28, 2024

ALL TO PLAY FOR (2023) Rendezvous With French Cinema

Virginie Efira gives another stellar performance as a single mom trying to do the best she can with her kids.

The film begins with two boys rushing to get medical aid. One brother is pushing the other in a shopping cart. The film then shifts gears as Slyvie (Efria) is visted at her nightclub job by the police who take her to the hospital where her son is being treated. It seems she had left the younger son home asleep and gone off to work. The older boy had not yet made it home and she thought since he was sleeping there would be no trouble. The problem is the kid got up and tried to cook something to eat, destroying the stove and burning himself.  All should be okay, except that because the authorities were involved all sorts of investigations were started and despite it being an accident there is a question of whether Sylvie should keep her kids.

Feeling more real than pretty much any film out of Hollywood, ALL TO PLAY FOR is a wonderful look at people dealing with a bad situation. Since we are with Sylvie and her family we understand there was nothing malicious going on, so we see how the turn of events rocks their world. We also get to see a whole bunch of well formed characters deal with the hands life gave them.  There is a complexity to all of the relationships that lift the film up from your typical telling of similar stories. We are not focused on the events but on the relationships with the result that get to see them as real people and feel truly connected to them. By  following the characters we get more insight then simply following the events.

This is a wonderful slice of life and a must see film.

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