Marvin ou la belle éducation [Reinventing Marvin] (2017)

Marvin ou la belle éducation
Director: Anne Fontaine
Writer: Pierre Trividic, Anne Fontaine
Based on: Édouard Louis‘ autobiographical novel En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule (translated as The End of Eddy)
Cast: Finnegan Oldfield, Grégory Gadebois, Vincent Macaigne, Catherine Salée, Jules Porier, Catherine Mouchet, Charles Berling, Isabelle Huppert
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 29.10.2017

Marvin (Jules Porier) doesn’t have an easy childhood: always the target of homophobic abuse, he sticks out like a sore thumb in his neighborhood. It’s only in the theater class that he really finds relief. So as soon as he is grown (Finnegan Oldfield), he makes his way to the big city to follow his calling to the stage and to maybe make peace with his past.

Marvin, unfortunately, loses itself in clichés which left me at a distance to the characters and frustrated by the lengthy narration.

Marvin is based on an autobiography/autobiographical novel. But you wouldn’t know from watching the film, where all mention of the original author, Édouard Louis, is removed. I don’t know the novel, but from what I gather it’s rather different from the film – and there seem to be less clichés there than we got here. Maybe that’s why the film and the author parted ways.

Because what the film gives us is the story of a gay boy who is abused at school and has a horribly stereotypically redneck family who is no support either. So he flees into theater and then the big city where he manages to get his own show. And the entire thing just feels like a middle-to-upper-class cishet ally trying to make a film that wants to be supportive but fails miserably.

The resulting film left me absolutely cold and I have to admit that I did fall asleep a couple of times during the screening. I was just too bored by the story. Every once in a while, the film manages to put some emotions on the screen, but it was far from enough.

The only thing I really appreciated was the cast. Macaigne is great as usual, but also Oldfield and Porier who play the two differently aged versions of Marvin do their best and succeed for the most part (props to the casting agent, by the way, for finding two actors who look so much alike). But altogether, Marvin didn’t manage to convince me.

Summarizing: Too boring.

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