Directed by: Fabrice du Welz
Starring: Thomas Gioria (Paul), Fantine Harduin (Gloria), Benoit Poelvoorde (Hinkel), Anael Snoek (Mother), Laurent Lucas (Gloria’s uncle)
Country: Belgium, France; Effed Up Belgian Movies
Language: French (Eng Subs); Effed Up French Films
Genres: Misery-Mental Illness, Teen-Childhood
Plot – Spoilers:
A lonely kid, Paul, lives in the woods next to a mental institution where his mother works. Early on, we see he’s been given grown-up chores like reading bedtime stories to mother, while she nuzzles her feet against his chest. He also helps out at the institute, though how exactly, remains unclear. This training to be protective and grown-beyond-his-years will come in handy later.
While hanging around the forest, he meets a young girl, Gloria, who’s been brought to the institute, seemingly against her will. The staff there claim she’s schizophrenic, but she alleges a plot by her uncle to usurp her inheritance. Paul, who’s probably never been near a girl his age, falls in love with her, especially when she pleads with him to save her. He helps her escape and the two runaways embark on an almost surrealistic journey, with the occasional rude bumps and awakenings for Paul, though he prefers to slumber.
When Paul runs away with Gloria, he is not just running with the love of his short life, but also running away from his domineering mother. But is a known devil better than an unknown angel? For Gloria, she doesn’t seem to have anything to look forward to apart from the time to be spent with Paul. And watching him even relax in the company of others can start to grate.
Favorite Moments – Massive Spoilers
Gloria has a terrible sickness. And maybe as part of it comes the overarching need to control Paul, even if she needs to beg to have her way. One of the more subtle moments of this trait comes through when she’s giving him a handjob in an idyllic setting. When he loses his breath, she smiles in satisfaction.