Examining A Life: Our Review Of Everybody Loves Jeanne’ on MUBI

Posted in Movies, Mubi, What's Streaming? by - July 24, 2023
Examining A Life: Our Review Of Everybody Loves Jeanne’ on MUBI

Girlboss Jeanne Mayer (Blanche Gardin) just landed in Lisbon and already she finds herself in a ego measuring contest between two men. These men are Jean (Laurent Lafitte), some guy she went to French high school with back when they were growing up in Lisbon, and Vitor (Nuno Lopes), her Portuguese ex. She doesn’t need this right after the failure of her invention that she though was going to clean oceans. And the failure of that venture gets her into debt. Her only asset is an apartment in Lisbon that her mother Claudia (Merthe Keller) was living in. That’s until the latter dies of suicide. She can still feel Claudia’s presence in the apartment. Every day she stays at the aparetment, she learns something about her mother.

Celine Devaux’s Everybody Loves Jeanne depicts its titular character’s self discovery. She does this while navigating the attention of two men, the predatory real estate industry in the Western world, and her own neuroses. The film expresses her neuroses through animation segments that Devaux draws and voices herself. In another film, may come off as cutesy and mainstream. But the context helps, and I’m partial to films about adults surviving the deaths of their mothers. And Devaux’s delicate hand gives her film an authentic, autobigraphic feel. She also puts details like Claudia stealing sugar packets from every cafe they went to when they were both younger. Such details flesh out the idea that these otehrwise archetypal characters live complex and rich lives worth examining.

I mention archetypal because yes, Everybody Loves Jeanne does have those tendencies. It doesn’t help that my first Blanche Gardin movie is Delete History, one of the growing number of boomer comedies destroying French cinema. Traces of that subgenre appear here sometimes. Although yes, it is unfair to paint two films with the same brush. And yes, Gardin’s Joplinesque face evinces a pathos that grounds the film. Another thing that hinders the film from being perfect is Jean. The film is a decent introduction to Lafitte, but the character is the kind of guy who is bad news until he isn’t. Imagine if a Adam Sandler character exists in a supporting role in a rom com, that’s who Jean is.

The thing about archetypes though is that enough of them do resemble life to make viewers relate to them, especially Jeanne, the kind of character who is in denial about having depression. Everybody Loves Jeanne reintroduces the titular character’s brother Simon (Maxence Tual). Everybody is a bit of a hangout film already, and Simon coming back into the picture adds a warm vibe to the film, even if he *is* telling her to pack up the place and pick a buyer already. I just noticed that this film is the one of many French films that MUBI is adding to their platform. It’s nice to see a film like this handle difficult subjects like bankruptcy and mourning with love and warmth.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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