The latest collaboration from directors and co-writers Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano following 2011’s Intouchables is another story of human interest this time a cross between a serious social drama and a romantic comedy. It involves the life of an illegal migrant originally from Senegal Samba Cisse who has lived with his uncle in France since he arrived ten years ago and has virtually qualified as a Chef. After a routine police check he is detained not knowing if he can stay in France or if he will have to return to his family back in Senegal to whom he regularly sends money enabling their survival. Placed in a detention centre he meets Alice an emotionally vulnerable inexperienced advocate who along with her sister will represent Samba at a tribunal. A relationship gradually develops between the damaged Alice and the handsome trainee chef.
|Charlotte Gainsbourg as Alice.|
Although ostensibly a comedy we get to witness the struggle that migrant’s have in rich European country’s that refuses to grant them papers that would make their stay legal but are prepared to exploit them. During the movie we meet others in the same position as Samba. There’s Jonas who followed the love of his life to France with the intention of marriage, we meet Wilson, supposedly a Brazilian, who teams up with Samba when he loses his job at the restaurant after his arrest. They both do the rounds of ‘low wage’ employers who do not look too closely at their forged ID cards!
The film stars Omar Sy as Samba, an artiste who became the first person of African descent to win a Cesar Award for Best Actor for his role in the Intouchables and who also appeared in the extremely enjoyable French comedy Micmacs in 2009. Movie Ramble favourite Charlotte Gainsbourg plays Alice with another award winning actor Tahar Rahim, best known for his role of Malik in Jacques Audiards A Prophet (2009) plays Wilson. I really enjoyed this movie and would suggest the negative critiques that you have probable read should be ignored - just enjoy this well-meaning film and the joyously engaging performance from Omar Sy.