COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 47min (French with subtitles)
STARRING: Isabelle Huppert, Aure Atika, Lolita Chammah
Mother load: from left, Huppert and Chammah
Played with an abundance of understanding by a vibrant and defiant Huppert, Babou is a woman of a certain age who, with her flame-red bird’s-nest hair, statement makeup, skimpy frocks and fringy existence, blithely refuses to act it. Her churlish and conservative daughter, Esméralda (Chammah, Huppert’s actual daughter), does not approve, so much so that she cruelly refuses to invite her mother to her upcoming wedding. Mortified and out of money, the irregular Babou takes a regular person’s job selling time-share apartments, a seemingly doomed venture in a decades-long daisy chain of them.
Ostend, Belgium, where the complex is located, is drab and unwelcoming and the apartments are iffy. Babou, to whom life has clearly not been overly kind, makes lemonade from lemons all the same, dipping into an affair with a bedazzled local (Jurgen Delnaet), squirreling a homeless couple (Magali Woch and Guillaume Gouix) in an empty studio and disarming her defensive boss (Atika). She’s an impulsive one-off and a temperamental worry but as fine-tuned by film-maker Marc Fitoussi, she never fails to own the moment.