An entertaining potpourri featuring some acute observations about la vie en famille, “Blame It on Mum” (the original French title is the rather better “Something to Tell You”) tosses comedy, melodrama and light social critique into the air and lets a skilled cast have fun with what falls. This follow-up to helmer-writer Cecile Telerman’s well-received “Thirty-Five Something” is similarly unpretentious fare, put together with skill, care and an eye for emotional truth that eases the viewer gently through credibility gaps. Released in France last summer, the pic has recently found a cult following among Spanish Francophiles that could be replicated elsewhere.
Haute bourgeoise Mady (Charlotte Rampling), married to retired Henry (Patrick Chesnais), has three confused kids: failed businessman Antoine (Pascal Elbe); fortune-telling nurse Annabelle (Sophie Cattani), and wannabe painter Alice (Mathilde Seigner). Alice falls in with world-weary cop Jacques (tough-guy Olivier Marchal, playing against type). Plot deftly maneuvers the audience into meller territory as the family histories of Jacques and Alice merge. Pic is surprisingly subtle beneath its deceptively light surface, with witty dialogue fused with soap opera-like plotting. Perfs are fine, with memorable pairings provided by Seigner/Marchal and Rampling/Chesnais.