Home  •  About  •  Contact  •  Twitter  •  Google+  •  Facebook  •  Tumblr  •  Youtube  •  RSS Feed
The Adopted

The Adopted

By Frances Taylor • March 31st, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 4/5

Original release: April 2nd, 2012
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 93 minutes

Country of origin: France
Original language: French with English subtitles

Director: Melanie Laurent
Writers: Melanie Laurent, Morgan Perez, Christophe Deslandes

Cast: Melanie Laurent, Denis Menochet, Marie Denarnaud, Clementine Celarie, Theodore Maquet-Foucher

Families… even if you always love them, you can’t always like them. Unspoken rules and power-plays run deep within relationships; there are some things you can say in front of certain people and some things you never can, even if it’s infuriating or upsetting. Delicate balances can’t be upset for the unit to function as it should.

Often though, life has a tendency to get in the way.

For sisters Marine (Marie Denarnaud) and Lisa (Melanie Laurent) and their mother, Millie (Clementine Celarie), life is fairly routine. They all care for Lisa’s son Leo (Theodore Maquet-Foucher) and each other; it’s a happy familial equilibrium until Alex (Denis Menochet) enters Marine’s life when he walks into their bookstore to get out of the rain.

The Adopted

It’s love at first sight. Dripping wet, Marine sells him a Raymond Carver book, though he only has eyes for her. Their romance is whirlwind and adorable. They kiss in the street, wear silly masks to lighten the mood after arguments, and blow soap bubbles through flannels in the bath.

While Marine is having a lovely with her new boyfriend, she’s skipping shifts at the bookstore, is too busy to answer the phone, and doesn’t make it to brunch with Lisa.

I’m sure that we can all relate to this. Maybe it isn’t a new boyfriend, but a new job or hobby, perhaps we’ve just moved to another town and gotten wrapped up in our own thing. It’s nice to do once in a while, to be completely selfish and enjoy the break from routine responsibilities.

It’s an invigorating feeling to feel like you’re stepping out into something new, something grown up; forgetting about others, however momentarily, is something that I’m certainly guilty of.

The Adopted

With things looking so rosy between Marine and Alex, and so tense between Marine and Lisa, it’s all the more tragic when Marine walks out into the road without looking first, and is hit by a motorcycle.

Comatose, Marine lies in stasis while her family tries to adjust to a much more serious shift in their circumstances. Lisa and Alex strain to be civil, and their testy relationship is further complicated by Marine’s burgeoning pregnancy.

From here, the film changes tack, and we’re asked to look at the aftermath of some extremely unfortunate circumstances that can’t be blamed on anyone.

When things don’t go how we imagine them, it’s at least comforting to be around others who are similarly disappointed. Misery loves company, and it’s tough to watch your friends and family progress whilst you’re left behind. There’s always a crack in the congratulatory smile at someone else’s promotion when you’re still unemployed and sleeping on someone else’s couch, again.

The Adopted

Sisters or not, best friends or not, envy is a strong and destructive emotion. Nevertheless, it pales in comparison to grief, to missing someone. However angry we might get at our family, it’s almost always better to have them around.

The Adopted seeks to remind us what is really important in life, showing what binds people together during good times and tough times, and that’s love. What bonds Alex, Lisa and Millie is their love for Marine.

Denarnaud was instantly likeable as Marine, and it was a brave to remove her almost entirely halfway through the film and leave us with Lisa, a character that took more time to warm towards. Laurent gave Lisa depth and humour though, which elevated her to much more than ‘the more serious sister’.

We all know the answers to the issues posed by The Adopted, there will be a hundred movies and more giving us the same answers, and Laurent doesn’t set out to give us a revelation in her directorial debut. She does, however, give us a beautiful reminder.

Frances Taylor

Frances Taylor

Frances likes words and pictures, regardless of media. She finds great comfort and escape in film, and is attracted to anything character-driven with a strong story. Through these stories, she will find meaning in the world. Three movies that Frances thinks are really good for this are You and Me and Everyone We Know (Miranda July), I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK (Chan-Wook Park), and How I Ended This Summer (Alexei Popogrebsky).

When Frances grows up, she would like to write words and make pictures and have cool people recognise her on the street and tell her that they really enjoy her work.

She can be found overreacting and over-caffeinated on Twitter @penny_face, a childhood moniker from her grandmother owing to her gloriously round face.

© 2012 STATIC MASS EMPORIUM . All Rights Reserved. Powered by METATEMPUS | creative.timeless.personal.   |   DISCLAIMER, TERMS & CONDITIONS