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SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE (2019) review

April 24, 2020

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written by: Cédric Klapisch and Santiago Amigorena
produced by: Gaëtan David, Cédric Klapisch, and Bruno Levy
directed by: Cédric Klapisch
rated: not rated
runtime: 110 min.
U.S. release date: April 24, 2020 (avail. on Vimeo)

 

Two thirtysomethings in modern-day Paris find themselves in a funk – unlucky in love, losing sleep, and lonely. It just happened. Neither are struggling with an addiction, nor are they grieving, or have been emotionally wounded in some way. They are gainfully employed and have family they keep in touch with, yet there’s a melancholy about them that they just can’t seem to shake. French director Cédric Klapisch subverts our expectations in his latest film, “Someone, Somewhere”, which takes it’s time learning what’s going on with these two before their meet-cute.

Actually, it’s debatable whether or not a meet-cute (a term typically reserved for rom-coms) will or does happen between Mélanie (a radiant Ana Girardot) and Rémy (the affably charming François Civil), and that’s one of the many refreshing aspects of Klapisch’s latest film. The two protagonists are neighbors who have passed and walked alongside each other, shopped in the same nearby market, and are even both seeing psychotherapists.

 

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None of those similarities mean they’d be perfect for each other, however. Through their respective therapy sessions, we learn what they are discovering about each other, as they then determine what she be done. Mélanie is discovering that maybe some of her relationship hang-ups are tied to what transpired during her last relationship, while Rémy is learning he should give himself a break and be a little more confidant with what he has to offer. In fact, both of them could use some affirmations of their worth and value at their jobs and from their family, but that’s not always easy to find.

Some of the themes in the screenplay co-written by Klapisch and Santiago Amigorena are a tad obvious (social media, Tinder and readily available screens prevent us from true connection: duh), but the film absolutely excels in how we see certain mental health symptoms manifest themselves in the behavior of these two characters. Scientist and cancer researcher Mélanie loses herself in a relaxing bathtub soak while listening to a sad song, which can be heard in through the vents and thin wall she shares with Rémy. It feels like she’s sinking further and further, without any chance of getting up. Earlier on, warehouse worker Rémy can be seen having a panic attack on the metro, in a scene that feels uncannily real, as Civil portrays how that sudden wave of anxiety envelopes in an all too real manner.

The more time the audience spends with Mélanie and Rémy, the more relatable they become, and we surprisingly learn there’s a lot more going on internally then even they were aware of. The less said about what their respective therapists get out of them, the better, since it’s really rare to see a film in which therapy sessions explore the depths of two good-looking characters who would otherwise have a more familiar character arc.

 

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On that note, the therapists in “Someone, Somewhere” (titled “Deux Moi” in France) are equally interesting and far from the stereotypical portrayal we’re used to seeing. Rémy’s patient psychoanalyst (played by François Berléand), an older gentleman who comes across as an intent listener who genuinely cares. Mélanie’s therapist (played by Camille Cottin), is a bit more eccentric, as she dispenses input through rings of cigarette smoke in an ornate room with patterned drapery and carpets with a reclining lounge for her patientlean back on. Both therapists have an conversation with each other at a retirement party, in which an unsuspecting degree of authentic vulnerability is revealed.

Thankfully, “Someone, Somewhere” is more along the lines of a straight-up drama than it is a romance. Despite the fact that the two protagonists unknowingly circle each other throughout the film, they only come into contact with each other during the last five minutes. This may seem frustrating for some viewers, but to think about how formulaic these stories typically are, it’s a surprise and a relief to Klapisch (who worked with his two leads in his last film “Back to Burgundy“) offer something this real. Because the film takes its time with finding out who these two characters are, we will likely leave with a bit more awareness about ourselves and others, and maybe even be a bit more mindful as to what and/or who is available within our vicinity.

RATING: ***

 

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Note: “Someone, Somewhere” is available from Distrib Films US through a virtual theatrical experience with Vimeo. You can rent the film and half of the net proceeds will support your local independent theater (such as the Music Box Theatre in Chicago). Click here for more information and to find a list of participating theaters screening the film online.

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