Review: ‘Mauvaise fille’

A rock star's literature-inclined daughter faces loss and imminent motherhood.

A rock star’s literature-inclined daughter has to simultaneously face the loss of her terminally ill mother and the fact that she’s soon to be a mom herself in “Mauvaise fille.” Thesp-turned-helmer Patrick Mille (“Love Crime”) here adapts a work of autobiographical fiction by his real-life partner, Justine Levy (daughter of Gallic philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy), though rather than feeling lived-in, the pic is a meandering muddle. Limited Nov. 28 release got some traction from local gossip-lovers, but even the presence of Bob Geldof as the protag’s celebrity dad won’t give this much spark internationally.

What little narrative tension there is hinges on whether Louise (Izia Higelin), who’s pregnant by her b.f. (Arthur Dupont), will tell her cancer-ridden hippie mother, Alice (Carole Bouquet, in the pic’s strongest perf), that she’s going to be a grandma. That’s hardly enough to sustain interest in these broadly drawn characters, with wild dinner scenes or haphazardly inserted flashbacks offering little insight; Geldof essentially plays a bilingual version of himself. Tech package is adequate, with Alice’s extravagant but never exaggerated costumes the sole standout. The title translates as both “Bad Girl” and “Bad Daughter.”

Mauvaise fille

France

Production

An ARP Selection release of a Chapter 2, ARP presentation of a Chapter 2, ARP, Nexus Factory, France 3 Cinema production, in association with Canal Plus, Cine Plus, France Televisions. (International sales: Kinology, Paris.) Produced by Dimitri Rassam, Michele Petin, Laurent Petin. Co-producers, Serge de Poucques, Sylvain Goldberg, Adrian Politowski, Gilles Waterkeyn. Directed by Patrick Mille. Screenplay, Mille, Justine Levy, based on the novel by Levy.

Crew

Camera (color, 35mm-to-HD), Jerome Almeras; editor, Yann Dedet; music, Jonathan Morali; production designer, Benoit Barouh; costume designer, Marie-Laure Lasson; sound (Dolby Digital), Francois Waledisch, Jean Gagonne, Thomas Gauder; assistant director, Pascal Roy. Reviewed at UGC Cine Cite Les Halles, Paris, Nov. 28, 2012. Running time: 108 MIN.

With

Izia Higelin, Arthur Dupont, Carole Bouquet, Bob Geldof, Joana Preiss, Jacques Weber, Ingil Valenti. (French, English, German dialogue)

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