Falcon Lake (2022)

Falcon Lake
Director: Charlotte Le Bon
Writer: Charlotte Le Bon, François Choquet
Based on: Bastien Vivès‘s graphic novel Une sœur
Cast: Joseph Engel, Sara Montpetit, Monia Chokri, Arthur Igual, Karine Gonthier-Hyndman, Anthony Therrien, Pierre-Luc Lafontaine, Thomas Laperriere, Lévi Doré, Jeff Roop
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 22.10.2022

Thirteen-year-old Bastien (Joseph Engel) comes with his family to Canada for a holiday. They are visiting his mother’s friend, including her daughter Chloe (Sara Montpetit). Chloe is sixteen, a few years older than Bastien and at their age, those years mean a lifetime. Nevertheless, the two of them quickly start spending basically all of their time together as Bastien falls in love with Chloe. But Chloe seems more interested in older boys.

Falcon Lake really works its story and theme. While it is a masterclass in foreshadowing, the thing it does foreshadow wasn’t that satisfying for me. But it is a beautifully crafted film overall.

The film poster showing Chloe (Sara Montpetit) swimming in the lake.

With its unusual main pair, the film does manage to hit on some new aspects for the comin-of-age genre. Chloe is caught between still being a child and becoming an adult. Bastien represents a safe haven for her: somebody she can still indulge her childlike sides and fantasies with. By taking him along to some parties, he is somewhat of a security blanket for her as she experiments with her more grown-up side. Bastien, on the other hand, is just awed by Chloe and how she takes him under her wing. She is his entry point into the grown-up world, his first real crush, and later his first sexual experiences.

This set-up between the two is well-crafted to explain why they would hang out together at all (or at least why Chloe would hang out with Bastien). When Bastien also tries to connect with one of the older boys, flattered by his attention, it’s a moment that perfectly shows how easy it is for boys/men to throw girls/women under the bus to be accepted by other boys/men. Even if they don’t realize that’s what’s happening in the moment. And it shows the destructive quality of this kind of locker room talk.

Bastien (Joseph Engel) and Chloe (Sara Montpetit) chilling in the grass.

Engel and Montpetit are the main focus of the film, and they really do great work. Le Bon, in her first outing as a director, shows great skill in working with actors. Maybe because that’s her own background as well. As a screenwriter, she also knows how to do character work. And, as I mentioned, foreshadowing. The ending is beautifully set up without making it completely obvious what would come for them.

That being said, I can’t say I liked the ending much. It seems to play into Bastien’s narcissism too much, finding a way for him to stay with Chloe, and fails to consider Chloe. And it was just generally a little too much for me (I don’t know if the ending comes from the graphic novel, or if it was changed for the film). But that doesn’t mean that the rest of the film isn’t worth it.

Bastien (Joseph Engel) and Chloe (Sara Montpetit) looking at each other on the lake shore.

Summarizing: despite the disappointing ending, a strong debut.

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