Eddy (Benoît Poelvoorde) was just released from prison and is now staying with his best friend Osman (Roschdy Zem) and Osman’s daughter Samira (Séli Gmach). It’s not easy for Eddy to find his footing. Osman is dead-set on staying on the straight and narrow, despite big financial worries: his wife (Nadine Labaki) is ill and the hospital bills are mounting up. And then Charlie Chaplin dies and is buried not far from them. As Eddy watches the international grief, he has an idea: what if they were to hold Chaplin’s body for ransom?
La rançon de la gloire has all the makings of a dark little comedy with its unbelievable story that is actually based on true events, but unfortunately it falls almost completely flat.
At the end of the 19th century, George Foottit (James Thiérrée) used to be a well-regarded clown, but his shtick has grown old and he is relegated to the sidelines more and more. That’s when he meets former slave Rafael Padilla (Omar Sy) who works in a small circus in Northern France. Foottit sees potential in him and proposes that they should form a clown duo – and one that defies all expectations, both regarding what clowns can do and what black people can do.
Chocolat tells an interesting story, but keeps to its surface only, nicely flowing along but never really getting to the bottom of it, ultimately complicit in the racism it tries to denounce.
Gary (Josh Charles) comes to Paris for a business meeting and quite suddenly he decides that he won’t be returning home anymore. Audrey (Anaïs Demoustier) works as a chamber maid in the hotel Gary’s staying at. Her interest is piqued by Gary but quickly moves away from him when she finds herself transformed into a sparrow. For both of them, the sudden shift in perspective means a re-ordering of their lives.
Bird People was charming and amusing, but it lacked a sense of direction for me. I would have liked to get a bit more focus, but I didn’t miss it too much.