Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
France/Germany/United Kingdom/USA, 1996. Canal+, Chrysalis Films, Die Hauskunst, Filmstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Polar Entertainment Corporation, Rimb Production. Screenplay by Wendy Kesselman. Cinematography by Maryse Alberti. Produced by Joseph M. Caracciolo Jr., John Fiedler, Mark Tarlov. Music by Gil Goldstein. Production Design by William Barclay. Costume Design by Sabine Bobbis, Candice Donnelly. Film Editing by Paul Karasick.
The packaging of this film might suggest another lame teen romance, but don’t be fooled by appearances; it’s actually a touching, dramatic coming-of-age story. Based on the stage play of the same name, it stars Claire Danes as a high school student who is spending the weekend with her grandmother (Jeanne Moreau). Her relationship with the older woman is a complex one, as she loves her so dearly but at the same time is threatened by her past as a World War II concentration camp survivor and what that means to Danes and her personal identity. Throughout the weekend she recounts to her grandmother the various goings-on of her life in school, mostly centring around the boy she likes (Jude Law) who likes her back but doesn’t necessarily appreciate her for who she is. Though short in running time, this very clever and charming story packs in quite a few different aspects of both women’s lives, all of which are brought to life beautifully by the excellent performances.