Hors normes [The Specials] (2019)

Hors normes
Director: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
Writer: Olivier Nakache, Éric Toledano
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Reda Kateb, Hélène Vincent, Bryan Mialoundama, Alban Ivanov, Benjamin Lesieur, Marco Locatelli, Catherine Mouchet, Frédéric Pierrot, Suliane Brahim, Lyna Khoudri, Aloïse Sauvage, Djibril Yoni
Seen on: 10.1.2020

Content Note: ableism

Plot:
Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Malik (Reda Kateb) are best friends and also do the same job: they each run organizations that work with disabled and/or neuroatypical people, mostly autistic teens and young adults that everybody else seems to have given up on. When Bruno’s organization is being inspected again, it just adds to his overall workload and frustration. As if he hadn’t enough on his plate already, trying to do right by all of the children in his care.

I was hesitant about seeing the film, given that Intouchables has a less than great record when it comes to handling disability (I didn’t see it at the time, so my review linked above is very hype-y, but I have learned in the last decade). But since I worked with autistic children myself and since I like Cassel and Kateb, I figured I’d give it a go. I really, really, shouldn’t have. Hors normes is a sanctification of social workers that fails to take into account the perspective of the people they work with for even a second. That’s not how you make a film about such a sensitive topic. Or about any topic.

The film poster showing Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Mailk (Reda Kateb).
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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
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Plot:
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.

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