Crustacés & coquillages (Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau, 2005)

Crustace et Coquillles

A proper oddity, this one, and one that I’ll struggle to describe. It’s a sex comedy, ok, but what kind? I’m not really sure, and it’s utterly unlike anything I’ve ever watched before.

The set up is that Marc (Gilbert Melki) and Beatrix (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) take their children to a seaside cottage where Marc grew up. Their daughter immediately rides off with her biker boyfriend to Portugal, leaving son Charly and his gay friend Martin their only companions. Martin is infatuated with Charly, whose parents think they’re lovers though Charly is hetero and the two kids are only letting the adults think they are both gay as a joke.

Beatrix also has a lover, who turns up to continue their affair, with Marc somewhat negligent and seemingly uninterested in his wife sexually, though it’s clear they both love one another.

The plot is not too far-fetched and the characters behave, largely, realistically (though there are a couple of odd musical numbers which sit strangely in what is already a pretty odd film). Beatrix’s lover seems, to me, slightly unpleasant and this detracts from her character, who is clearly meant to be sympathetic, having taken a lover due to spousal neglect, but his lack of either charisma or morals makes the affair more seedy than it need be, although there is more seediness in store.

The film and its characters get more interesting as it progresses, with some revelations and twists that reveal more about the characters and their situation without really resolving the flaws in them or, ultimately, the film.

By the end of the movie, I think I liked it.

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