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Posts Tagged ‘"Les Notres"’

“LES NOTRES” My rating: B- (June 16)

103 minutes | No MPAA rating

On numerous levels the French-Canadian “Les Notres” (“Our Own”) is a head scratcher.

It’s part problem picture/social drama, part personality study — without fully committing to either — and regularly thwarts its audience’s expectations. It aspires to depth and yet often is satisfied with melodrama.

But there is no denying that teen actress Emilie Bierre absolutely dominates the screen as a 13-year-old with a devastating secret. It’s a star-making turn; indeed, Bierre’s low-keyed performance and quiet charisma keep us watching, somehow filling the gaps in what otherwise might be a terminally fragmented tale.

Magalie (Bierre) lives with her widowed mother Isabelle (Marianne Farley) in a quaint Quebec town. She is an unremarkable girl, average in just about every respect but one.

She’s pregnant.

This revelation comes early in the screenplay by director Jeanne Leblanc and co-writer Judith Baribeau (who also takes on one of the major supporting roles). The main thrust of the tale is how young Magalie deals with her situation…or doesn’t.

Mag — who even in the best of circumstances nurses a case of teen stubbornness (losing her papa at a tender age has had a major impact on her personality) — refuses to identify the father. And she won’t even consider an abortion.

Word soon gets out of the girl’s tender condition. Her classmates call her a slut to her face. Her best friend Manu (Leon Diconca Pelletier) — an orphan living in a foster home across the street — is widely believed to be the father. The poor kid already has one strike against him for being Hispanic, and is resented for having deposed his fellow jocks as the school’s best soccer player.

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