What is Chanson Douce worth, the distressing drama with Karin Viard (review)

What is Chanson Douce worth, the distressing drama with Karin Viard (review)

The adaptation of Leïla Slimani’s best-seller arrives unencrypted on France 3.

At the end of 2019, we discovered the scary trailer wishes of Soft songa film by Lucie Borleteau (Fidelio, Alice’s Odyssey) with Karin Viard (The Aries Family, Jealous…) as a nanny hired by young parents to look after their children. A role directly inspired by the successful work of Leïla Slimani. Is this adaptation successful? In part. Here is the review of First, while the film will be broadcast at 9:10 p.m. on France 3.

To adapt is to betray. Even more so when it comes to a recent, highly publicized Goncourt Prize. And, from the first minutes of this Sweet Song, we perceive that Lucie Borleteau decided to follow this principle to tell the relationship between a couple with two young children and the nanny they hired. A dedicated and conscientious rare pearl whose reactions will become more and more distressing. The director does not touch the DNA of Leïla Slimani’s novel: a double reflection on the notions of motherhood and social domination – all the more powerful as it is exercised by a couple of bobos sincerely thinking of themselves as the opposite of that feeling. But she chose to take the story towards genre cinema, in a perfect balance between a thriller which never really fully unfolds and a realistic film perverted by the horror-tinged atmosphere created by the op director Alexis Kavyrchin (Pain). And yet something never quite works. Like an original manufacturing defect: a misinterpretation of the one who embodies (however impeccably) this nanny. An actress never appears neutral on a screen. And, with her previous roles, Karin Viard immediately brings certainty about what her character will become, when a more angelic and gentle face would have contributed to increasing the mystery. As if her presence contradicted the ambivalent climate that the director is trying to construct and made expected – and therefore banal – a number of scenes meant to haunt our memory for a long time.

Discover La Grève des stomachs, the short film by Lucie Borleteau (A Sweet Song)

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