The film Another Round (Busy) by Danish director Thomas Vinterberg, who left last year with the Oscar for best international film, looked at alcoholism with an ambiguous look, with several strong scenes and a Mads Mikkelsen at its peak.
The subject is hot in our soaked societies. Released at TIFF, a more conventional American film, The Good House by Maya Forbes and Wallace Wolodarsky, adapted from the eponymous novel by Ann Leary which is anchored in a small port town in Massachusetts, in turn sticks to it.
If, in the Scandinavian countries, drinking to excess can become a subject of passionate debate, among our neighbors to the South, morality is invited despite more spicy passages on the pleasures of excessive consumption.
The Good House gives the spotlight to Sigourney Weaver, capable of injecting vitality into proposals without much cinematic brilliance.
In the skin of Hildy, real estate agent on the return, once flourishing, now divorced, full of intelligence and charm, she imposes her contours of subtlety.
The protagonist’s bottle abuse is a major irritant for those close to her, but the parentheses of sobriety last for the time of roses. Some festive scenes after the vodka shot testify to the joys of rediscovered drunkenness. The woman under the influence is reborn from her ashes.
Beautiful character anyway. Because Hildy descends from one of the witches of Salem and possesses powers of clairvoyance which are all the rage in dinners. His family has lived in the area for centuries.
She takes pride in her ancestry, works hard while losing ground. Because the profession changes and his life too, without the combative Hildy too wanting to perceive it. Her mother drank more in more permissive times. Alcohol pours down a generational chain here.
Aside from Kevin Kline, delicious as an old flame found, the secondary cast hardly sparks, and several scriptwriting tracks could have been better completed.
But Hildy, like a woman whose profession and her flair make it possible to grasp people’s secrets, becomes under the sensitive play of this great actress a complex figure, sometimes dominant, sometimes on the edge of the abyss. The Good House in spite of everything, lacks the dash of daring that pushes a work to stand out.
And by showing a corner of New England (shot in Nova Scotia), the filmmakers would also have benefited from exploring the future of places of beauty threatened by a kitsch modernity that robs them of a soul.
More disturbing and visually appealing: Flee, by Dane Jonas Poher Rasmussen, crowned at Sundance earlier this year. Here we enter the land of animated documentary, biopic under drawings with tender or violent, clean, charged lines.
Here is the obstacle course of Afghan Amin Nawabi (not his real name), an illegal refugee with his family in Russia, catapulted to Denmark claiming to be an orphan to be admitted to the country.
The terrifying trajectory of this gay man, who finds sexual freedom in Europe while remaining cut off from his family for a long time, with touches of humor and endless drama, moves more than through a traditional documentary. The drawing manages to convey intangible sensations, to show the cargo ships of hell where human cattle are piled up, to reveal the being hidden under the label of refugees. In this film centered around Amin’s sessions with his therapist, secrets come to the surface, knots are untied.
We think of Waltz with Bachir by Israeli Ari Folman for the charge and political significance of an animated documentary. Flee, through a particular destiny, opens a door on the traumas of all the refugees of the world and deserves more circulation.