It’s summer and the sun is shining over Paris, but Sandra Kienzler (Léa Seydoux), the main protagonist of “A Beautiful Morning”, by Mia Hansen-Love, doesn’t have much time to appreciate it. A single mother with an eight-year-old daughter, Sandra lives in an apartment so small that she doesn’t even have space for a table to eat properly, she works as a translator of books, articles, conferences, picking up everything that comes to hand, and is always on the move. Not only because of work, but also because of her father, Georg (Pascal Greggory), a retired and divorced professor of Philosophy, who suffers from a neurodegenerative disease and can no longer be alone at home.
[Veja o “trailer” de “Uma Bela Manhã”:]
In the company of her sister (Sarah Le Picard) or her mother, an eccentric activist (the excellent Nicole Garcia), Sandra also goes from house to house, looking for a decent place to put her father, who has a huge library, from which the family have to undo. As Georg’s mental faculties fade, so the books, which represent his intellectual life, must go, and apart from those that will remain for her, they will be scattered to the four winds, among donations to libraries and the shelves of former students. In the midst of all this anxiety and sadness, there is only one consolation for Sandra: the reunion with Clément (Melvil Poupaud), a friend she has not seen for a long time and whose lover she becomes, despite the fact that he is married and has a child.
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After the tasteless and inconsequential “A Ilha de Bergman”, Mia Hansen-Love films in “Uma Bela Morhã” an autobiographical background story (and that we find in several of the titles she signed), inspired by her father’s illness. The story of a woman who bears witness, patiently and stoically (at no point do we see Sandra lose her temper, sink into despair or lack affection) the slow fading of her father to the world, at the same time as she sees the possibility flare up of a new and exciting love relationship.
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Where others might pull “A Beautiful Morning” for the sticky, sniffly drama, Mia Hansen-Love prefers cinematic discretion, dramatic mutedness, feeling between the lines, emotional sparing. Never better expressed and synthesized than in the hurt sweetness, but never defeated, resistant to all blows, setbacks and disagreements, with which Léa Seydoux composes the character of Sandra, who has to do her best for her father, her little daughter and her lover, meet everyone’s needs and expectations and stay afloat at the same time.
“A Beautiful Morning” has only one problem: too much time. It is true that Mia Hansen-Love, to emphasize the constant hustle and bustle of Sandra’s life, has to constantly show her in circulation, going from Herod to Pilate. But they end up being excessive, repetitive comings and goings. A few cuts here and there, a little more power of synthesis and confidence in our ability to understand what the director wanted to convey, had only done the film and the spectator’s patience good.