A single-minded young soccer player, whose penniless family is relying on him to achieve a pro career, learns there's more to life than soccer in "A Major Inconvenience." Intelligently scripted and splendidly cast cross-generational drama places convincing characters in a richly detailed, frequently humorous framework, en route to a strong coda. Fluidly helmed by Bernard Stora from a script co-written with Gilles Taurand, this sensitive, well-paced pic explores the unexpected ways in which having goals and endeavoring to do the right thing can explode in your face. Result is a rock solid item for fests and specialized distribs.

A single-minded young soccer player, whose penniless family is relying on him to achieve a pro career, learns there’s more to life than soccer in “A Major Inconvenience.” Intelligently scripted and splendidly cast cross-generational drama places convincing characters in a richly detailed, frequently humorous framework, en route to a strong coda. Fluidly helmed by Bernard Stora from a script co-written with Gilles Taurand, this sensitive, well-paced pic explores the unexpected ways in which having goals and endeavoring to do the right thing can explode in your face. Result is a rock solid item for fests and specialized distribs.

Laurent (rising newcomer Jalil Lespert, in an assured, appealing perf) lives in a tiny house with his mother, two half-brothers and elderly, Arabic-speaking grandmother, whose son split on the family. Now 20, Laurent lost his father in an accident the year he was born. Believing that sex detracts from an athlete’s concentration, he’s never had a girlfriend, to the amusement of his sexually active half-brother Djamel (Yasmine Belmadi, also excellent).

A scout from the pro soccer club in Nantes has his eye on Laurent, whose factory job makes him the extended family’s lone meal ticket. When another soccer player, Franck (Clement Sibony), breaks Laurent’s nose, he apologizes by inviting Laurent to a reconciliation dinner. As a result of this, Laurent and Franck’s mother Fabienne (Mireille Perrier) — a divorcee and reporter for the local newspaper — fall for each other.

For the first time, Laurent misses practice and spreads his wings. Sex — and love — with a woman twice his age shakes up his regimented world. Her pixie-ish beauty leavened by a mature, no-frills outlook, the forthright journo is briefly troubled by the implications of sleeping with a guy her own son’s age, but there’s an unfussy, sweet and unabashedly carnal quality to the relationship.

Action both on and off the playing field rings true, and the leads couldn’t be better. Chantal Banlier as Laurent’s scrappy mom, Sibony as Laurent’s overly admiring friend, and Jackie Berroyer as a pharmacist with a protective streak toward Fabienne also register strongly in supporting turns.

A Major Inconvenience

France

Production

A SND release of a Les Films de la Boissiere/France 3 Cinema production, with participation of Canal Plus. (International sales: Artbox, Paris.) Produced by Annie Miller. Directed by Bernard Stora. Screenplay, Stora, Gilles Taurand.

Crew

Camera (color), Gerard de Battista; editor, Jacques Comets; music, Bruno Coulais; art director, Ambre Fernandez; costume designer, Jacqueline Bouchard; sound (Dolby), Georges Prat, Frederic Ullmann, Jean-Pierre Laforce; assistant director, Badreddine Mokrani; casting, Christiane Lebrima, Severine Ribal. Reviewed at Club de l'Etoile screening room, Paris, Feb. 24, 2000. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Laurent - Jalil Lespert Fabienne - Mireille Perrier Rose - Chantal Banlier Franck - Clement Sibony Djamel - Yasmine Belmadi Pierre - Jackie Berroyer
With: Lokman Nalcakan, Fatima Touidjine, Narjiss, Bernard Blancan.
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