Les Petites Vacances

A strong debut from Peyon
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It’s rare for any film to make a grandmother its central character, let alone a multi-faceted personality with a complex range of motivations and emotions. Bernadette Lafont, a veteran of French cinema since the late Fifties, takes the lead role of Danielle who plans to take her grandchildren, a headstrong early teenage girl and her younger, trusting brother, to their father’s house over the weekend. When the father fails to meet them, Danielle takes the opportunity to spend more time with them, only for her impromptu holiday to escalate out of control.

Lafont embodies Danielle’s irrational behaviour with sympathy; whether this is a last hurrah or simply a chance to catch up on lost time, Danielle is always a character that inspires empathy. The initially slight plot grows in substance as the road trip stumbles from one location to another, with both the suspicion of the parents and the children’s growing uncertainty making for a strong debut from Peyon.

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