MOTHER AND SON--MY BEST PART
La vie est une fleur dont l'amour est le miel.
(Life is a flower of which love is the honey.)
Garçon chiffon or My Best Part (2020) addresses many types of love: maternal, paternal, romantic, one's pets and oneself. Nicholas Maury's Jérémie is a neurotic, sensitive, gay man who must reconcile his self-loathing and disdain for his late father, a macho hunter who had little regard for his son's alternative lifestyle. Attending the memorial at his mother's home (his parents had divorced) requires courage as he must face his ex-lover, his father's lover and the disapproving looks he'll receive from his father's friends.
His mother (Bernadette), portrayed by the marvelous actress Nathalie Baye (Catch Me If You Can, The Return of Martin Guerre) calls Jérémie, "Napkin," and accepts, adores her son. Nevertheless, she's a pragmatist. When her son expresses his grief, she reminds him of the sorrow-filled world and others who suffer even more. How Jérémie grows via his experiences at home comprises the basis of this film.
Writer/Director Maury, known for his performance in the States for the Netflix series Call My Agent, resembles a young Roddy McDowall in looks and at times gestures. Though Maury lessens Jérémie's anguish with humorous moments, a few scenes blur the line between fantasy/reality, confusing the narrative. It helps if the audience has familiarity with the musical Spring Awakening (at one point, Jérémie holds a script as he readies to audition). A striking moment: the actor enters stage left wearing a black and white, harlequinesque costume holding a gun, but where does it lead? In his directorial debut, Maury demonstrates he has talent that he should continue to explore.
Baye and Maury share the screen with Theo Christine (Kévin) and Laure Calamy (Sylvie), among others, but its the mother/son relationship that impresses. On his own, Jérémie's personality becomes self-indulgent as he wallows in his misery regarding his career, relationships, and his future. Once he goes home, his perspective begins to change. The ambiguous end may leave more questions, a je ne sais quoi.
Much of My Best Part illustrates Maury's deft touch involving visual elements and wry humor. His decision to cast Baye and give her the most insightful lines, the best part.
Unrated. Full nudity (men), sex, an imperiled animal, and theatrical reenactment of suicide. French with English subtitles.
Opening February 25th in Los Angeles and New York. Also on VOD (including Amazon, Apple TV, Vimeo, and other outlets).
Earlier reviews not seen on this website (before May 20, 2021) are available on https://www.rottentomatoes.com/critic/wendy-shreve/movies or my previous blog site, featuringfilm.com
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