A college student, Clara (Leila Muse), gives birth to a baby she doesn’t want. Jeanne Henry’s Pupille, then, follows that baby, which the adults around him call Theo.
Those four adults make for a small group, but before Pupille gets to those other characters, it stays long enough on Clara. She’s a piece of the puzzle so important that the film makes us feel the effects of her disappearance.
Pupille means a ward of the state, which Theo temporarily is until he finds a more permanent situation. But it also applies to the adult characters. These characters will feel the difficulties within the necessary bureaucracy surrounding Theo’s upbringing.
Two of those adults are Jean (Gilles Lellouche) and Karine (Sandrine Kiberlein), who made their presence during Theo’s early days in the hospital.
The last adult is Alice (Elodie Bouchez). While she lives her life, Henry plays the voice of one of the other social workers narrating her family history. This shows how intrusive the system has to be because they want the best candidate to raise a child like Theo.
Pupille shows the realities of raising Theo, but there are some gaps when it comes to explaining his stay with Jean. Sure, it establishes the idea that they couldn’t bond during the former’s infancy, but fixing that doesn’t seem to matter.
Scenes with the other social workers talking to Theo aim to uplift him and the audience but the monologues in them also seem like PSAs.
It slightly gets worse when the social workers are in the same room. There’s a specific scene where they fight over whether or not Alice is a suitable parent.
But the scenes showing the core three characters elevate this social drama. Bouchez’ face conveys both the pain and happiness that will stick with me.
For more information on Pupille go to https://www.cinefranco.com/pupille.