ANTIONETTE IN THE CÉVENNES
THREE AND A HALF STARS When Antionette learns that her boyfriend is going on holiday with his wife, she decides to join them.
COMEDY FRANCE #CEVENNES
Laura Calamy, Benjamin Lavernhe
What do you do when your boyfriend decides to go on holiday with his wife and kids instead? For Antoinette, the choice is easy. Go with them! Which she does in this amiable farce from French director Caroline Vignal, starring CALL MY AGENT’s Laure Calamy in the title role.
Antionette is a school teacher, her lover is the father of one of her pupils. When he drops the news that their holiday plans have changed and no longer include her, she decides to join his family on their walking tour in the Cévennes albeit in a ‘Deidre Chalmers, what a coincidence!’ kind of way. Antoinette will also be accompanied by a stubborn donkey called Patrick for added comic value.
Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels With A Donkey In The Cévennes, this ultra-light comedy delivers a number of laughs and a few life lessons, each served with a good dose of bonhomie as befits the set up. Few of the characters come out of it especially well, although genuine sympathy is engendered for desperate Antionette despite her poor judgement. At least she’s not as much of a selfish, sexually-addicted cad as her boyfriend.
The film’s success lies is in the hands of Laura Calamy who, in her first feature role, is a delight. She nails the hyper-emotional and rather highly-strung Antionette and turns what could so easily be an abrasive, charmless character into someone quite irresistible because, rather than in spite, of her foibles. She even wins over Patrick the donkey, and that takes some doing.
Vignal backs all this with the effortless beauty of the countryside itself. The splendid landscape shifts forward to become a minor yet significant character that also has a few things to say to poor Antionette. While the film won’t be chasing Oscar glory, you’d be well advised to make time to spend a couple of very pleasurable hours with Antionette in the Cévennes.