Bright Days Ahead (Les Beaux Jours)
Director: Marion Vernoux
Cast: Fanny Ardant, Laurent Lafitte, Patrick Chesnais, Jean-Francois Stevenin
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: French with English subtitles
Country of Origin: France 2013 94 mins.
Released by PICTUREHOUSE ENTERTAINMENT
'An observant portrait of an exhilarating guilt-free affair in late life.'
Caroline's (Fanny Ardan) had a bust up with a colleague in her dental practice and takes early retirement Struggling to come to terms with the death of her best friend from breast cancer five months ago and suddenly aware that the years creep by, she's at a loss as to what to do now. Caroline's an intelligent woman suddenly presented with a limbo land that she can't control.
To get her out of a rut, Caroline’s daughters enrol her in ‘Bright Days Ahead’ – evening classes in pottery, painting and browsing the internet for the agile retired.
It's not Caroline's thing but an accidental meeting with Julien (Laurent Lafitte), her 30-something lady killer IT tutor puts a different perspective on a late-life crisis. He flirts, she's flattered and receptive,they hit if off and before her fingers can touch the keys Caroline's into the fling of a lifetime.
The screenplay's by Marion Vernoux and Fanny Chesnel is sharp and observant and is based on Chesnel's 2011 novel 'Une Jeane Fille aux Cheveux Blancs'. It's not a tear-jerker or a sentimental portrayal of a woman whose life's locked in past memories or what could have been. Fanny Ardant plays Caroline as a woman of strength, intelligence, character and fun drawn into a guilt-free affair with an exhilarating abandonment aware that it will end with disappointment, but that's the way it is.
It's a predictable storyline and the film sags midway but it's thoughtful and poignant, the scripts good, Nicolas Gaurin's cinematography places the promenade, beach, cafes and restaurants of Nord Pas de Calais in good light and there's a great cast. The 'Bright Day's Ahead' group are full of life and are there for the fun of it and Philippe, (Patrick Chesnais) Caroline's faithful and loving husband puts all the bits and pieces together at the end on a windswept beach in Northern France. It all works out in the end.