Mixed messages forge a forgettable outcome in Mélanie Laurent's directorial debut.
It would be easy to despise the feature writing and directing debut of the star of Beginners, Inglourious Basterds and The Concert. The Adopted is the sort of film that includes arguments in big, echoey places and begins as a whirlwind romance between a quirky, beautiful young woman who works in a bookstore – Marine, played by Marie Denarnaud – and a food critic, Alex (Denis Ménochet).
Marine was adopted as a child by the mother of her best friend, Lisa, a role Laurent herself tackles with brio. Mélanie Laurent the director aims for a lightness of touch in the early scenes that doesn’t always come off; the same can be said for the darker tone she introduces alongside Lisa’s growing jealousy of Marine.
The tale of how apparently random people can fill the gaps left in our lives by others, and how we cope with tragedy, would have been helped by a more consistent approach. At times Laurent’s direction – and the dialogue – can be oddly literal, which means she struggles with the bizarre introduction of fantastical elements late on.
Though, these could easily be excised with a tighter running time. Also, fans of the French band Syd Matters may be interested to know the soundtrack is by the their front man, Jonathan Morali.
What’s the breakthrough star of Inglourious Basterds got up her sleeve?
An enjoyable romance loses itself in tragedy.
Mixed messages forge a forgettable outcome.