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This movie opens with about ten minutes of watching commuter trains running around the Paris area. We get views from the inside as well as out. You begin to wonder what is going on, is this a film directed by some train obsessed person? But, no, the opening scenes set a mood and briefly introduce us to two of the main characters: Lionel, a train engineer, and Joséphine, his daughter. (Is it just a coincidence that Lionel's name is the same as the model train company's?)
After the opening scenes we see Lional and Joséphine in their small but comfortable apartment in the Paris suburbs. Details of their ordinary domestic life are presented at some length. Lional and Joséphine are so at ease with each other that you assume they are husband and wife, but then you are surprised to learn they are father and daughter. Finally we are introduced to the two other people in the apartment complex whose lives intertwine with Lionel and Josèpine: Gabrielle, a taxi driver who has had more than a casual interest in Lionel for many years, and Noé, a young, peripatetic bohemian who has interest in Joséphine. Following the shifting relationships among these four people is the substance of the movie.
Dramatic tensions are developed with quiet subtly. Those seeking histrionics will not find them here. The pivotal scene has no dialog. While dancing in a café to the Commodores "Nightshift" and Ralph Tamer's "Siboney," the entire emotional tone between the characters turns. What a beautiful scene.
What attracted me to this film was the gradual way we learn about the people and come to care about them. In contrast, however, compressed into the final scenes are surprising revelations.
If you like quiet, character-driven films, then you will probably like this. Otherwise, probably not.
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