Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
Original title: Comme Les Autres
France, 2008. Canal+, Centre National de la Cinématographie, CinéCinéma, Cofinova 4, France 3 Cinéma, Mars Distribution, Nord-Ouest Productions. Screenplay by Vincent Garenq. Cinematography by Jean-Claude Larrieu. Produced by Christophe Rossignon. Music by Robert Burke, Loic Dury, Laurent Levesque. Production Design by Yves Brover-Rabinovici. Costume Design by Fanny Drouin. Film Editing by Dorian Rigal-Ansous.
Successful pediatrician Lambert Wilson wants a baby, his partner does not, and this divergence of goals drives the two steadfast lovers apart. Now single, Wilson attempts to pass himself off as straight in order to adopt, something gays and lesbians are not allowed to do in France, but the plan backfires. When he meets an Argentinean beauty (Pilar López de Ayala) with no work permit who needs to stay in the country, a scheme is born: why not marry her and ask her to be surrogate mother of his child?
She resists at first, but gradually they become close and the idea begins to appeal to her. Not that it’s so cut and dry—humans rarely make rules for interaction that they actually follow, and in this smug little comedy this sad reality explodes all over the screen for the latter half of its running time.
The performances are all terrific: Ayala is a fantastic actress, as anyone will know from having seen Mad Love, while Anne Brochet as Wilson’s colleague and best friend continues to be worthy of the mad affection she inspired nearly twenty years earlier in Cyrano De Bergerac. What keeps it from being better is a decided lack of tone from the director; the film is sensitive and sweet, but often too willing to congratulate itself on its humaneness, while taking on the tone of comedy without ever being overly funny. The Wedding Banquet was better.