Dealing with cancer is never an easy task. But so often do we assume the worst when we hear about it, that we forget those that survive through it and who are left to pick up the pieces of their lives afterward.
This is where De plus belle comes in, which is French for “I am beautiful” and how fitting for a story about a breast cancer survivor learning how to rebuild her life. Florence Foresti plays Lucie Larchet, a single mother who has just had a double mastectomy and is struggling to regain the confidence she once had. When she meets Clovis (Mathieu Kassovitz), a smooth-talking bachelor, her self-image and beauty are put to the test as she battles to feel beautiful in the way that he sees her.
Never has there been a more appropriate time to describe a movie as – just fine. It wasn’t terrible, but neither was it great. The story works well to be original enough to enjoy, whilst also pushing themes of the meaning of beauty and society’s perception towards breast cancer survivors. It’s solidly acted with nice performances from both of its leads, but does it get to me? No. Does it feel like a captivating drama? No. All in all, it’s – just fine.
Compared to another film that explores a somewhat similar (but incredibly rare) scenario, Rust and Bone work ten-folds better. In it, we follow the life of a woman who trains killer whales and in a horrific accident whilst doing so, loses both her legs. It then deals with her relationship with a man whilst exploring her ability to feel beautiful to others. But here, the drama was far more intricate and far more interesting with many details that couldn’t be put in that short synopsis (seriously, check it out).
Which is why I feel like De plus belle is only ever going to be a fine but nothing spectacular movie. I thought most of the direction could have been done more cleverly, with most of the film being standard shot-reverse shots. I also wasn’t a fan of some unoriginal subplots involved, particularly with the relationships between Lucie and her family. And ultimately, I think this is what drags it down.
Could this have been a great movie? Sure. But I think to do so, it would have required a lot more risk and major elements to be added in, which I don’t believe this film was going for. No, it really did want to be just a simple, heart-warming affair and that’s basically what it is. So, I’d only recommend this film for those that like a very safe film that doesn’t push the envelope too much but still retains enough skill to make it an enjoyable watch. So, basically, if you’re over 60.