Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sacre Blueboys: "A Little Comfort" (2005)

Teenage boys spending a hot summer awakening sexually while dealing with some adult problems is nothing new, but that doesn't stop French film maker Armand Lameloise from taking another crack at the genre.

Arnaud (Arthur Monela) is obviously secretly in love with his best friend, the handsome Guillaume (Remi Bresson), who has a pretty girlfriend named Vanessa (Elodie Bollee). Guillaume also has problems at home, as his mother (Eva Mazauric) is in and out of a mental facility due to the suicide of her husband. Guillaume does not tell anyone but Arnaud this, and he is staying with his tutor Yannick (Manuel Blanc) while his mom recuperates.

Arnaud tries to go straight, taking up with younger high school student Aude (Anna Mihalcea). It's difficult, though, when Guillaume is always around, depending on Arnaud's more stable lifestyle and family (including his mother, played by Fabienne Babe). The pair keep a couple of secrets with each other, but eventually give in to their feelings, and a chance living situation throws them together even more often. The viewer eventually finds out if this is true love, or just a fling.

Although French in origin, and featuring a cast of unfamiliar faces, you have seen this coming of age drama before. I am not slamming teen flicks, but eventually all the melodrama gets to be a bit much. While Lameloise does not go overboard into hysterical "Degrassi" territory, he treads some well worn ground.

The two leads are excellent. Both are called on to involve themselves in some explicit sexual scenes (both straight and gay), and they handle the challenge well. Lameloise does not go the Larry Clark route, this is not hardcore porn, and the rest of the cast do well. Thankfully, the teens seem normal, and the parents are not portrayed as idiots. The cinematography catches the heat of a French summer beautifully, and the song by the band AqME fits very well into the teenage outlook on life, when the only people you could rely on were your friends and pop culture.

"A Little Comfort" is a short film much could have been fleshed out if it had a longer running time. Not a bad effort, but oddly paired on DVD with Joseph Graham's polar opposite horror/fantasy "Vanilla" from TLA Releasing. (* * * *) out of five stars.