Toni with family: In the name of the mother (review)

Toni with family: in the name of the mother (critic)

For his second feature film, Nathan Ambrosioni delicately draws the portrait of a mother concerned with also existing as a woman.

The film immediately offers its tempo and its issues during a first sequence, where Toni (Camille Cottin) at the wheel of a car sees her entire family, made up of five teenagers, pile up in the passenger compartment. It’s joyful, full of energy, deliberately idealized, then the tone slowly changes. On the radio a song resonates, an old hit which we understand illustrates the hour of ephemeral glory for Toni, once a star of the song. The children sing this piece that they inevitably know by heart, like a piece of intimate heritage that immediately organizes a fusion. The host suddenly breaks the general enthusiasm and comments on the supposedly cheesy nature of the title in question. On Toni’s face, pain is printed, that of time that has passed and sends her back to this role of solo mother, curled up (erased?) under the weight of her offspring. Toni with family intends, as we suspect, to tell how this everyday super heroine will try to relearn how to dream for herself. The filmmaker who tells this is only 23 years old and this is already his second feature film after Paper Flags (2018) which already made the family unit a refuge and a prison. This new film delicately manages to bring this myriad of characters into existence and coexist and to identify their common concerns. It is therefore in the middle of a relative tumult that Toni must find a place. The filmmaker’s intelligence is to believe until the end that this emancipation is not necessarily opposed to this group idea.

By Nathan Ambrosioni. With Camille Cottin, Léa Lopez, Thomas Gloria… Duration 1h30. Released September 6, 2023

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