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THREE WORLDS (TROIS MONDES) (director/writer: Catherine Corsini; screenwriter: Benoît Graffin; cinematographer: Claire Mathon; editor: Muriel Breton; music: Sune Martin/ Grégoire Hetzel; cast: Raphaël Personnaz (Al), Clotilde Hesme (Juliette), Arta Dobroshi (Vera), Reda Ketab (Franck), Alban Aumard (Martin), Adèle Haenel (Marion), Jean-Pierre Malo (Testard), Laurent Capelluto (Frédéric), Rasha Bukvic (Adrian); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Fabienne Vonier; Film Movement; 2012-France-in French and Moldovan, with English subtitles)
A laborious moralistic movie to watch for many reasons, that include the tragic subject matter, the unappealing characters and the story’s queasy emotional moral compass.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A laborious moralistic movie to watch for many reasons, that include the tragic subject matter, the unappealing characters and the story’s queasy emotional moral compass. It turns as a well-meaning but sappy soaper, that is executed in a conniving hamstrung fashion that fails to generate the thought and sympathy as expected for the three main characters deeply effected by the same tragedy. Director/writer Catherine Corsini (“The New Eve”/”Leaving”) uses a suspense plot to create an unlikely melodrama that never creates tension or touches the heart as its hapless characters make initial missteps and never recover from that experience as they try to atone for their early errors by their outlandish later actions. It’s co-written by Benoît Graffin.

Car salesman Al (Raphaël Personnaz), whose mom was a cleaning woman in the Mercedes dealership he works for, is marrying in ten days the bosses daughter Marion (Adèle Haenel). The boss, Mr. Testard (Jean-Pierre Malo), gives Al a partnership and promotes him to run the firm. After partying with his two workplace friends, the mechanic Franck (Reda Ketab) and the salesman Martin (Alban Aumard), Al while drunk and speeding drives his Mercedes home to the suburbs and hits the illegal Moldavian immigrant Adrian (Rasha Bukvic). Stopping briefly to check on the vic, the frightened Al, at the coaxing of his buddies, leaves the scene of the accident. The hit-and-run was witnessed by conflicted medical student Juliette (Clotilde Hesme), from her apartment terrace, who is in the middle of an uneasy relationship with her demanding philosophy lecturer boyfriend Frederic (Laurent Capelluto). Juliette feels bad she couldn’t give the police more good information about the accident and on the next day tracks down the illegal immigrant’s wife Vera (Arta Dobroshi) and visits the hospital. Also feeling guilt pangs is Al, who when he visits the hospital is followed by Juliette. The two French natives begin a painfully awkward relationship, one that grows in complexity when the vic dies and Vera suspects that Juliette knows her husband’s killer. Do-gooder Juliette feels equally sorry for the torment that Al is going through as she does for the victim’s family.

The dramatics were listless, overwrought, hardly believable, schematic and executed in a heavy-handed manner. It’s a glossy well-meaning pic, that ambitiously but erroneously in a too shallow a manner tries to tap into the country’s immigration problems, into the mindset of a young ambitious upstart who develops second thoughts about his social climbing ways and how people react to love and tragedies in different ways. It tries but fails to say something earth-shattering about how atonement, no matter how much it hurts, is necessary for a good person to regain his moral balance. What I got from it, was how annoying it was to watch such ponderous dramatics–especially when the lead actors are so limited in their emotional range that I felt nothing for their suffering characters and the storyline is too painful to watch without squirming in one’s seat.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”