I keep telling people (who do not listen) inside Quebec’s film industry that it’s no good to try to make the public think every single feature shot in La Belle province is a damn good movie worth the money. It gives the public a misconception because, once they see two or three films hailed like they were masterpieces for no serious reasons, they don’t want to see local stuff anymore. One conversation later with a (sports) journalist of a major Montreal ‘paper’ about the pressure to add one star for reviews of local films on Friday, and a near fistfight I got into with a drunk distributor, made Cinetalk.net more ‘selective’ of the local films we review… If we can’t tell the truth to our readers what’s the point? Plus I would have won the fistfight anyway.
Under the circumstances, I often skip my critic outfit for my more anonymous film buff clothes and I go see the films with civilians.
A sad ‘victim’ of my apprehension, explaining this late review, is the charming and entertaining Charlotte a du Fun (Charlotte Has Fun), directed by Sophie Lorain and written by Catherine Léger .
Charlotte, 17 is fresh out of a breakup with her boyfriend. One short trip to ‘Toy Depot’ Mega store, full of good looking boy workers convinces Charlotte she is ripped for some NSA fun. She and her two best girlfriends get hired…
Charlotte a du Fun tackles the subject of adolescent girls’ desires vividly and in a straightforward fashion. The pace is good, it is clever in its introduction of its subject (curiously still a taboo) and it manages to never be preachy or heavy.
It primarily uses a comedic but realistic approach, completely leaving out the adult world by way of editing and lenses choices. Cinematographer Alexis Durand-Brault shot it quite beautifully in glorious black and white, helping shape a world of their own for the kiddos. Plus the Ins and outs of frames, in this era of countless shitty handheld camerawork, are a benediction. There is some direction in that movie!
The young cast is good, headed by Marguerite Bouchard, Romane Denis and Rose Adam. A bit too ‘white suburb’ though. You see the efforts of putting some different faces are there but still kept in quite peripheral, supporting roles…
Charlotte a du Fun is at times, a bit too clean as everyone is basically good-natured, many dialogues expressing everything could be cut even if they are quite good. It’s obvious the director did take that little bad habit from her TV days (where it’s usually very dialogue-driven).
Charlotte a du Fun is rather remote from the Larry Clark takes on the subject. It makes you think of John Hughes, Diary of a Teenage Girl (but more polite) and the amazing Norwegian gem, on the same subject of a girl’s desire: Turn Me on Dammit (2011).
Charlotte a du Fun is honest, of its time and an enjoyable film.