Welcome Abroad (2012)

14 Dec

welcome abroad

Welcome Abroad – the title is about the only major thing I have to complain about, a clumsy rendition of the original French name which lends itself to much confusion among English-speaking movie lovers (and more than one viewer wondering when a ship was going to appear.) Aside from that, however, Jean Becker’s most recent release ticks all the boxes. True, the story is not without precedent, and had it been executed any differently, the general predictability may have been scoffed at. Luckily, Patrick Chesnais’ portrayal of a severely depressed retired artist, and newcomer Jeanne Lambert’s performance as the firecracker teenage runaway who brings him back to life make Welcome Abroad a poignant and entertaining experience.

Taillandier (Chesnais) appears to have it all; successful children, adorable grandchildren, a nice house, a loving wife (Miou-Miou) and an exceptional, albeit waning, artistic flair. However, as depression begins to take hold of him, Taillandier leaves all of that behind him and, after a failed attempt at suicide, chances to pick up Marylou (Lambert), a teenager kicked out of her home by her jealous mother and sleazy, abusive step-father. The two embark on a meandering journey towards the coast, gradually falling into a happy kind of father-daughter routine, the progression of which is very astutely portrayed. Predictably, all does not go to plan; just as Taillandier’s zest for life seems to be returning, the pair are forced to rush to Marylou’s mother’s side after she is savagely beaten by the aforementioned stepfather, and Taillandier must begin to make mends with his own family. For all its predictability, however, Welcome Abroad is a charming film; the acting is realistic in its rendition of what are, it must be said, rather clichéd roles, and makes for both emotional and humourous viewing by turns. Grab a seat for Welcome Aboard, and you will definitely leave the cinema wearing rose-coloured glasses.

 

By Nastassja Sheppard-Larsen

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