La Belle Epoque (The Good Times) (15)

La Belle Epoque (The Good Times) (15)

Directed and written by Nicolas Bedos
Picturehouse, Liverpool
From 22nd November 2019

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

To use the common expression I could not get my head around this film.

In essence, the story line was nonsense, and as such, it proved difficult to watch.

The company Time Travelers, run by Antoine (Guillaume Canet), recreates for its clients in Paris a specific day, or series of days, that are cherished in the clients nostalgically-driven past. They use film sets, multi-character actors and a profusion of historical detail to simulate a period in a clients life.

It costs lots of money for them to indulge their nostalgia in such a manner. For example, Time Travelers reconstruct a building, such as a hotel or bar long since demolished, almost in every detail to help bring their memories flooding back.

But one client, Victor Drumond (Daniel Auteuil), does not pay a Euro because Antoine wants to reward him for the compassion he showed to him as a boy when he befriended Drumond’s son, Maxine (Michael Cohen).

Drumond, a mediocre cartoonist, and short of money, wants Antoine to reproduce the time he first met his future wife Marianne (Fanny Ardant) in 1974.

The setting of a sophisticated bar, where he met her, was reconstructed by Time Travelers.

But it proved jarring to watch. Drumond, aged in his early 60s, was cast along with replica figures of his past in 1974. But they were aged as though they were from that year. Why does Drumond want to be involved in this charade does not worth dwelling upon.

It is like me wanting to re-enact the initial meeting with my first proper girlfriend around that time. No way Jose! What has gone has gone…

Some have described this film as top-rated escapism.

But it escapes me how they came to that view!!

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