Mia Hansen-Love is one of the most respected French filmmakers working today. movies like What’s to come (2016) and Bergman’s Island (2021) consolidated his name for an interested look at his characters, at the same time he reveals himself willing to confront them with unusual and even unsuspected situations. These two biases manifest themselves once again in One Fine Morninginternational title for the original a beau morning (ie, a beautiful morning). However, everything that before had acquired a particular and even fantastic character, this time falls back into the small dramas of an absolutely ordinary life, although not devoid of interest. Identification with the audience, as can be seen, is immediate. But, on the other hand, it lacks the revealing element capable of elevating the narrative to the condition of belonging and desire, in which one longs to take part. What you see is, most of the time, as depressing as it is human, as anyone in the audience can come across in their personal daily life. The common finally takes over. And if at the end of so much crying and wailing even a quiet, sunny dawn can seem rewarding, it’s because up to this point so much has been mitigated that when exhaustion approaches, the slightest sigh seems to be able to make a difference.
One Fine Morning lives – and would have died, had the choice been different – on the back of Léa Seydoux, an actress who with each new work has revealed a versatility that is as engaging as it is revealing. It is difficult to conceive that the Sandra who appears here having to deal with the banal of morning to dusk is lived by the same woman capable of awakening passions with blue hair, leading the most famous secret agent in the world to consider retirement or ending with enchantments worthy of the fairy tales. Her days are taken up with commitments to her young daughter, her senile father, her somewhat distant sister, her controlling mother, a friend who returns after years away or even her work as a translator, which leads her to attend from boring ceremonies to most controversial conferences. From a muffled gaze, she gradually reveals the cracks of a forgotten, almost erased existence. In a moment of intimacy, when her lover prepares to undress her, she holds him and, almost whispering, pleads: “I need you to take it easy, I think I forgot how to do it”.
There’s a lot to carry, that’s for sure. Your responsibilities are so many that even a seemingly simple request (“can you give me his email?”) is capable of bringing her to tears. It is as if, at all times, a large part of his dedication is devoted to keeping up appearances, to offering the world a sense of normality and security, even though, in his heart, everything he wants and he closes his eyes and forgets. On a weekend in the countryside with family members, as soon as she realizes everything is in its rightful place, she sneaks out, seeking a minute of peace and isolation. The daughter, no more than a child, misses her, and seeks her out for another round of board games. “Please, I’m going to sleep just a little”, he tries to argue, but without much resistance. In the next scene she will be among the others again, faking a happiness she no longer has. Perhaps by the paternal example of a complicated finitude. Or widowhood, which is mentioned only briefly and without further development. Most likely, for all that, and then some.
A crack is made in his armor in front of the world with the appearance of Clément (Melvil Poupaud, dominating a charm that is intrinsic to him, while balancing a fragility exploited in favor of an inconstant character, but which it is difficult to dislike) . A longtime acquaintance, the two have been seeing each other for years, maybe decades, keeping both in the friendship zone. For work, he is constantly traveling, and he knows little about the dramas he has lived through. Even though they are so far apart, when they sit facing each other it is as if they were back from the night before, such is the connection. When he drops her off at the door, they say goodbye quickly, but they both feel that something is missing. It won’t take long to schedule a new visit. Then, for a kiss, a longer hug, a shared night, it will be a matter of time. But he is married, as much as he claims to be unhappy in this union and ready for an inevitable separation. Between comings and goings, he shakes structures that she thought were solid. Sandra suffers, for herself, for him, for the two of them, for what they could lose, for everything they dreamed of.
Happy families are everywhere, even if they are increasingly out of reach for the protagonist. The mother was reunited with a new partner, the father, no matter how oblivious he is at every moment, continues to cry out for the companion who, within her own limitations, offers him the best she has. Even the sister has the ideal partner with her to fake Santa’s visit, without embarrassment or embarrassment. Sandra, in the face of everything that is drawn around her, does not ask for much, but she is also not willing to settle for less. She is a woman who suffers and struggles, cries and pulls herself together, is strong when necessary, but fragile when allowed. One Fine Morning it is more than a statement, it is also a request. After all, what more could you want than a beautiful morning? A breath of normalcy in the midst of so much chaos. A moment to stop, to breathe and normality, without tragedies or celebrations, just the tangible and expected. Nothing more than just, yet so precious. Is its worth measured only by the amount of suffering it takes to conquer it? It is the doubt that everyone should carry with them, whether they like it or not.
Film seen during the 46th São Paulo International Film Festival
is a film critic, president of ACCIRS – Association of Film Critics of Rio Grande do Sul (2016-2018 administration), and founding member of ABRACCINE – Brazilian Association of Film Critics. He has acted in television, newspaper, radio, magazine and internet. He participated as author of the books Contos da Oficina 34 (2005) and 100 Melhores Filmes Brasileiros (2016). Creator and editor-in-chief of the Papo de Cinema portal.