Declaration of War

“OK, so I could have planned this date better”

Original title: La guerre est déclarée

A quirky and upbeat film about… cancer. Hmm. But before you switch off, this is based on a couple’s true story and stars the couple as versions of themselves. Bit weird, yes. French, obviously.

As Juliette (Valérie Donzelli, also the director/co-writer) takes her eight-year-old son Adam into a hospital appointment, she thinks back to meeting the father Roméo (Jérémie Elkaïm, also the co-writer). They had a whirlwind romance, had a son, then toddler Adam got a brain tumour.

The rest of the movie charts them dealing with it. They pay the financial and emotional price with a shrug, black humour and yet another cigarette.

The film avoids sentimentality but at the cost of real engagement with this likeable couple. Still, I suspect it will feel authentic to anyone enduring a similar experience. 7/10

Released May 31, 2012.

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