Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

Romain Duris & Audrey Tautou

Directed by: Cédric Klapisch.
Produced by: Bruno Levy.
Written by: Klapisch.
Director of Photography: Dominique Colin.
Edited by: Francine Sandberg.
Music by: Kouz-1.
Released by: Fox Searchlight.
Country of Origin: France/Spain. 115 min. Rated: R.
With: Romain Duris, Cécile de France, Kelly Reilly & Audrey Tautou.
DVD Special Features: French/Spanish Audio. English & Spanish Subtitles.

To get a better paying job, college graduate Xavier leaves Paris, his needy girlfriend (Tautou), and his self-centered hippie mom for a job training program in Barcelona. He finally finds a place to live with six roommates, students from all over Europe. And in them he discovers a family of his own. Though most of the roommates’ characters are thinly written, two stand out--Wendy, (Reilly), the mother hen Brit, and Isabelle (de France), a lesbian from Belgium. His friendship with Isabelle is the film’s most moving relationship as she changes from an object of fascination to become his closest confidant. The inherent tensions that occur in a shared living arrangement ring true: a filthy bathroom, an annoying guest, and marking territory in the refrigerator. Although the film has its share of clichés (he will eventually find his true calling), Xavier does embark on a disastrous and careless relationship, betraying a friend. He accurately assesses his life, “I’m Europe. I’m a real mess.” The episodic L’auberge Espangnole is like a younger and European version of Friends. But what adds resonance to this amicable, though drawn out, coming-of-age comedy is the bittersweet understanding that these intense friendships are only fleeting. Kent Turner
July 18, 2003



Archive of Previous Reviews, 180 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012 - Contact us