One Fine Morning (2022)

A widow, Sandra's life which she divides between her ailing father and her young daughter is turned upside down by arrival of Clement, an old friend.

6/23/20233 min read

France, 112 minutes, 2022

Director: Mia Hansen Love

Cast: Lea Seydoux, Pascal Greggory, Melvil Poupaud, Nicole Garcia

Awards : Europa Cinemas Award for Best European Film at Director’s Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival, 2022; Winner, Cineuropa's Best of the Year, Cineuropa, 2022; Nominee Golden Hugo (for Best Film), Chicago International Film Festival, 2022; Nominee Grand Prix (for Best Film), Ghent International Film Festival, 2022

The film starts with great promise. Sandra (Lea Seydoux) visits her ailing father Georg (Pascal Greggory), a philosophy Professor, who is now suffering from Benson’s syndrome, a neurodegenerative disease affecting his sight and cognitive abilities. She takes good care of him and visits him regularly at his home where he lives alone. Sandra is a widow who also looks after her young daughter Linn and works as a translator. So she divides her time between attending to her father and daughter when she is not at work.

Once when she is out supervising her daughter play, she meets an old friend Clement (Melvil Poupaud) who is also there with his son Jeremie. This chance meeting further leads to romantic involvement and Clement spends more time with Sandra than with his wife. Eventually Clement’s wife learns about his affair and throws him out of his home.

By this time Sandra’s mother, Francoise (Nicole Garcia), Georg’s earlier wife confronts Sandra about her father’s condition saying that it is unsafe to leave him alone in his apartment unattended since he can’t look after himself and can’t do daily chores all by himself. Sandra, her sister and mother therefore decide that it is best if Georg is shifted to an old age nursing home where he will be attended to, at all times.

This starts a phase where viewers actually get a tour of Paris’s old age nursing homes when Georg is shifted from one nursing home to another after every few days. In her personal life too, Sandra longs for Clement but he is non-committal since he doesn’t want to separate from his son even though his wife Valerie knows about Sandra. So he keeps getting in and out of her life and here film crawls pathetically. One fine day Sandra asks him to get out of her life if he cannot come to her for good. She tries to get on with her life.

The film then is good in bits and pieces. There is a delightful sequence about Christmas gifts ostensibly given by Santa to the young girls (Sandra and her sister’s daughters) almost at the end of the movie. As Sandra is getting along her life Clement re-enters and informs her that he has returned for good. Sandra is happy and takes him to meet his father whose health looks a bit improved.

Sandra the central character of the film is played very well by Lea Seydoux. Her face expressions at all times, barring a few, shows the sadness which envelops her persona. It seems as if she is ready to breakdown which actually is the situation she is in. But I would rate Pascal Greggory’s Performance, who plays her father, far superior to anybody in the film. He is thorough. He is meticulous and above all evokes viewer’s sympathy just by being there.

To conclude, the film is promising at start and ends beautifully too but in between just travels here and there without actually going anywhere or conveying anything significant .

About The Director, Mia Hansen Love

Born in February, 1981 in Paris, the prolific French Film director Mia studied German and minored in Philosophy (both her parents are Philosophy Professors) when studying in University. Later she worked as a film Critic at 'Cahiers du Cinema', A French film magazine and perhaps here the desire to get into films reignited - She had worked in few films as a child artist. Most of her films are born out of experiences from her own life so they may not be outrightly autobiographical but touch of her life has filtered through almost all her films. For instance, her second feature, ‘Father of My Children’(2009), premiered at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in the 'Un Certain Regard' section and won the Special Jury Prize. The film was inspired by the suicide of Humbert Balsan, a French actor and film producer who served as an early mentor for Mia Hansen-Løve. ‘One Fine Morning’ too, Mia mentions, was partly based on her experiences about what she was going through when her father was ill.

Hansen-Løve's debut film, ‘All Is Forgiven’, (2007), was nominated for a ‘César Award’ for Best First Feature Film in 2008 by the French Film Academy and won 'Louis Delluc Prize' for Best first feature film. Her third feature film was ‘Goodbye First Love’ (2011). The film premiered at the 2011 Locarno International Film Festival, where it received a special mention from the Jury.

And then came ‘Eden’ (2014) and ‘Things to come’ (2016), which won her a silver Bear at Berlinale and was nominated for Golden Bear.

Before making ‘One fine Morning’ she had made another movie ‘Bergman Island’ (2021), which was nominated for ‘Palme d’Or’, at Cannes Film Festival,2021.