×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Don’t Worry, I’m Fine

Helmer Philippe Lioret tackles the stifling prefab conformity of the Parisian suburbs in the ironically titled "Don't Worry, I'm Fine." A young woman's search for her missing twin brother leads her through some potentially pedestrian TV-movie territory, including a standard-issue dysfunctional family and a bout with near-fatal anorexia.

With:
With: Melanie Laurent, Kad Merad, Julien Boisselier, Aissa Maiga, Isabelle Renauld, Simon Buret.

After the storm-tossed isolation of a Brittany lighthouse in his 2004 “The Light,” helmer Philippe Lioret tackles the stifling prefab conformity of the Parisian suburbs in the ironically titled “Don’t Worry, I’m Fine.” A young woman’s search for her missing twin brother leads her through some potentially pedestrian TV-movie territory, including a standard-issue dysfunctional family and a bout with near-fatal anorexia. But Lioret’s assured direction, a well-constructed script and superbly understated perfs ultimately steer this heroine down more nuanced, less traveled paths. “Fine,” which opened Sept. 6 in France, should strengthen soundman-turned-director Lioret’s already solid reputation.

Nineteen-year-old Lili (a radiant turn by rising star Melanie Laurent) returns from her summer vacation in Barcelona with new fast friends, Lea (Aissa Maiga) and Thomas (Julien Boisselier), only to discover that her twin bro, Loic, has fled after a fight with their father, Paul (popular vet thesp Kad Merad).

Lili’s parents appear helpless or unwilling to explain Loic’s flight and account for his uncharacteristic failure to respond to his twin’s increasingly desperate cell phone messages. Unable to eat or sleep, Lili ends up in an anorexic hospital ward where one-size-fits-all treatment aggravates the problem.

Lili is finally saved by a missive from Loic, the first of many posted from different cities in France. On the mend but refusing to return to her university studies, Lili gets a job as a supermarket cashier, her existence staying on hold until she can find her sibling, Loic’s sporadic postcards keeping hope alive.

Romance beckons in the form of her growing closeness with pal Thomas, who, as it turns out, grew up a few kilometers away. Indeed, in these streets of rows upon rows of identical detached houses, where only the door color distinguishes one residence from another, one can apparently open any door and find exactly the same nervously apologetic mother and bitterly sniping father. Thomas, like her brother, shares Lili’s past.

As the pic progresses, Lili’s vision of her parents subtly shifts as revelations totally redefine the family dynamics. Helmer Lioret consummately compresses the daughter’s slowly dawning awareness of her parents’ own autonomy into a relatively short time-span without forcing the issue. Changing patterns of identification and allegiance evolve at their own thoughtful tempo while the mystery of the missing twin successfully sustains the drama.

Thesping is uniformly and quietly superlative. Laurent makes her vibrant character’s downward spiral totally believable without indulging in moody sullenness. Merad’s father figure blossoms almost imperceptibly to reveal unexpected depths. And Boisselier’s kindly b.f. Thomas never fades into blandness.

Tech credits are topnotch. Sacha Wiernik’s serene lensing complements both the artificial uniformity of suburbia and the fully fleshed-out characters that navigate through it.

Don't Worry, I'm Fine

France

Production: A Nord-Ouest/Studio Canal/France 3 production. Produced by Christophe Rossignon. Executive producer, Eve Machuel. Directed by Philippe Lioret. Screenplay, Lioret, Olivier Adam, from a novel by Adam.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Sacha Wiernik; editor, Andrea Sedlackova; production designer, Yves Brover; sound (Dolby Digital), Pierre Excoffier, Germain Boulay; associate producer, Philippe Boeffard; casting, Laure Cochener. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (competing), Aug. 30, 2006. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Melanie Laurent, Kad Merad, Julien Boisselier, Aissa Maiga, Isabelle Renauld, Simon Buret.

More Film

  • Calamity Jane

    Indie Sales Acquires Remi Chayé's Female-Driven Animated Feature 'Calamity' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paris-based company Indie Sales (“My Life as a Zucchini”) has acquired Rémi Chayé’s animated film “Calamity – The Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary,” the French helmer’s follow up to his critically acclaimed feature debut “Long Way North.” “Calamity – The Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary” tells the story of the 12-year-old Martha Jane who must [...]

  • Scarlett Johansson on 2020 Election, Avengers

    Scarlett Johansson on Running for Office: 'Maybe at Some Point'

    Pres. Scarlett Johansson, anyone? While she may not be running for office at the moment, Johansson says a campaign may be in her future. “Maybe some time in the future,” she says when asked if her political activism has inspired her own aspirations. “I think the greatest way to effect change is in local politics. [...]

  • Circus of Books

    Netflix Acquires Tribeca Doc 'Circus of Books,' Exec Produced by Ryan Murphy (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to the documentary “Circus of Books” ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Rachel Mason wrote and directed the pic, and also produced it along with Kathryn Robson, Cynthia Childs, Camilla Hall and Adam Baron. Ryan Murphy, Josh Braun, John Battsek, Rhianon Jones and Gerald Herman executive produced. [...]

  • Santa Fe Studios Netflix

    Santa Fe Studios Competes With Other New Mexico Stages for Streaming Business

    Albuquerque Studios entered the spotlight last October when it was purchased by Netflix. While the complex is clearly the jewel in the crown of New Mexico’s production infrastructure, with eight soundstages totaling 132,000 square feet, 100,000 square feet of production offices, a large backlot and support space, it’s not the only modern studio facility in [...]

  • Jennifer Kaytin Robinson Someone Great

    'Someone Great' Director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson on Reimagining the Rom-Com

    Jennifer Kaytin Robinson, creator of the MTV series “Sweet/Vicious,” recently made her feature debut with “Someone Great,”  now streaming on Netflix. The film follows three friends as they navigate relationships and work in New York City.  Here, the writer-director opens up on reimagining the rom-com, and women changing the face of Hollywood. The three young [...]

  • Brie Larson Takes On 'Beat Saber'

    Brie Larson Takes on 'Beat Saber' With Jimmy Fallon

    “Avengers: Endgame’s” Brie Larson took to “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” to play around in virtual reality. After chatting with Fallon about the upcoming Marvel superhero flick, Larson got hooked up with an HTC Vive with the talk show hit to give “Beat Saber” a try. Fallon was first up, who played through a [...]

  • Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan

    Martin Scorsese's 'Rolling Thunder' Bob Dylan Doc Hits Netflix June 12 (EXCLUSIVE)

    You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows, but Bob Dylan fans have been waiting for some kind of reliable forecast to know when “Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese” might be rolling in. Here’s that storm alert: Netflix will be releasing the documentary June 12. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content