Saturday, May 18, 2024

Universal Language (2024) Cannes 2024


I started laughing almost from the first frame and continued doing so until the end credits. I laughed more at this film than almost any American comedy of the last two decades.

At the outset the plot of UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE seems to be several different stories. The truth is it’s all one big interconnected tale, you just have to stick with it until all the pieces line up.  Don't worry that isn’t going to be a problem because the film is going to be making you laugh out loud for most of its running time.

The humor is very much absurdist of the best sort. Think of it as something akin to the manic madness of a Marx Brothers comedy but with a more modern and less devil may care attitude.  Referencing the Marx’s may make you wonder how that is possible, but something happens in the first few minutes that makes you realize that is the absurdist territory we are operating in. (I will not spoil it)

What I love about the film is that the humor isn’t dry or forced.  Too many absurdist comedies don’t feel real and feel like they are trying to make a point. Eugène Ionesco’s plays which are excellent absurdist pieces, can, when done badly feel forced. Here there is things feel silly absurd but they also feel grounded. We can see the things that happen actually happen.  I can see myself trying to figure out how to get stuck money, deal with stolen glasses or pretty much anything else that happens here including dealing with turkeys.

I laughed out loud from start to finish, and when I wasn’t laughing I was smiling.

And I know there is more to this film beyond the laughs, but the laughs and smiles are what I took away from the film, so that is what I am reporting on.

I love this film.

Highly recommended.

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