DVD Review: The Adopted (Les adoptés)

There’s two sayings I like to use a lot,”We’ve got to start somewhere so why not here?” and “Family’s Family”,these two saying are very relevant to The Adopted(Les adoptés)the directorial feature for French actress Melanie Laurent. The film may not be Oscar winning material but a film with real promise for a debut about Families and it’s potentially opened the door for another actor/actress whose talents aren’t just in front of the camera but also behind it.

The Adopted is a story of a family of women whose lives haven’t been the easiest but with time been the biggest cure for their difficulties. Lisa (Laurent) is a vivacious alluring woman, her adoptive sister Marine (Marie Denarnaud) both been inseparable since they where 10 years old. The pair has forged a deep bond with Lisa’s mother Millie (Clementine Celarie) whom the trio give Lisa’s young son Leo the security and affection a growing child needs. When Marine falls in love with Alex (Denis Menochet)Lisa starts to feel isolated, jealous which starts to take on the family,but eventually things start to look balanced once again as love starts to blossom only for fate to throw tragedy at them forcing the family to regroup again to turn loss into hope.

When I was offered this film for review I constantly questioned myself if my decision to review was down to my crush on Melanie Laurent  clouding my judgement. The first 30 minutes or so into the film it made me think my choice was down to my admiration for the pretty French actress but now I’ve had time to think about the film it’s is clearly the film. The Adopted plays out in three parts, the first part being a charming,quirky  exploring the characters which play a lot like an American indie film rather than a French arthouse flick. You could say its a little like Laurent’s Beginners minus big chunks of arthouse touches especially as the film’s main focal point is one person and the effects that person has on the loved ones. From the point of the accident things do take a deeper darker turn, Lisa is more cynical than ever but Marine’s spirit eventually does shine on helping her become a more happier person.

In a film dominated by strong female performances, Denis Menochet pulls off a good solid performance bringing a little bit of diversity doing enough to remind the viewers he is an important part of the cast too. The Adopted is about growing strong together, also letting go and moving on. I was really touched by the way Laurent’s approach to ‘letting go’ you see the sisters reunited again as they were when they first met as ten year olds. Most of all of the film is about that strong  the emotional connection that exists between the females in the family, without that bond families would be lost. Overall Laurent is still finding her feet in the filmmaking world, she does lose her way at times but things are kept together thanks to a good solid cast that keeps things intriguing.

Paul Devine | ★★★

Drama | France, 2011 | 15 | 2nd April 2012 (UK DVD)| Studiocanal | Dir:Mélanie Laurent | Marie Denarnaud,Denis Menochet,Clémentine Célarié |Buy The Adopted on DVD

originally posted at Cinehouse | 31st March 2012

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