BEIRUT: It seems that the summer is not only going to be a box office landscape filled with dark and grim action films about complex ideologies, but also films with light-hearted affects that deliver much needed reminders about the importance of family and never forgetting where one comes from.
THE CH’TITE FAMILY sees the return of the eccentric Ch’Tite family, as they leave their trailer park home in Northern France, to celebrate the matriarch’s 80th birthday with her prodigal son, Valentin.
Valentin left the family for Paris ten years prior, and is now living a luxurious, albeit stiff, nose-in-the-air, life with his wife Constance.
The film doesn’t take a long time to dive right into the avalanche of unfortunate circumstances as the lies begin to pile on, and the complications get more and more complex.
Throwing off echoes of farcical comedies, Dany Boon pulls off a film a film that should have been a cliched comedy, by infusing it with one of the most important aspects of any film: heart.
THE CH’TITE FAMILY only succeeds due to the empathetic characters that get hurt, fall in love, and share a connection that anyone can relate to.
Visually, the film doesn’t offer anything new, but then again, the genre doesn’t leave that much room for play either.
The overall pacing of the film works, and keeps the audience engaged with each sequence leading directly into the next, decisions made in one affecting the decisions made in the next.
THE CH’TITE FAMILY’s cast is remarkable and not more needs to be said about that.
None of them seem out of place, and each embody their roles perfectly, charismatically, and with class or classh.
What stands out most is the film’s ideological standpoint in regards to roots and family.
Here, the audience witnesses Valentin D, a successful furniture designer, lie about his origins to keep his new rich-filled, upper class life in order without the judgmental criticism of his peers and his wife.
Later, the audience discovers that Valentin hasn’t even spoken to his family since he left, and even claims he is an orphan.
The film’s structure and story arc in many ways is a story of a prodigal son journeying to find his way back home, in order to ask for forgiveness and move forward with his life no longer denying his truth.
This is one of many films this year with these three elements: family, roots, and the importance of the past.
THE CH’TITE FAMILY is a fun ride, with heart. It is no award winner, no Oscar contender, but it will resonate with its audience.
The current state of the world and the darkness seen in many films lately demand more tales of this nature to be seen on the silver screen.
Sometimes, a good laugh merged with a powerful message about never forgetting family is a much needed release for an audience that is constantly bombarded with violence.
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