One Wild Moment

Year: 2015
Production Co: La Petite Reine
Director: Jean-François Richet
Writer: Lisa Azuelos/Jean-François Richet/Claude Berri
Cast: Vincent Cassell, François Cluzet, Lola Le Lann, Alice Isaac

As this review was written, Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born remake was about to be released, something of a reminder that – like One Wild Moment – some movie plots are so timeless (or maybe just marketable) a studio or director could conceivably do a remake every two years and find a new angle.

The idea behind One Wild Moment is such an idea. Remade in 1984 by legendary Hollyood director Stanley Donen as Blame it On Rio (starring Michael Caine, Joseph Bologna, a teenaged Demi Moore and Michelle Johnson in her debut role) from the French original In a Wild Moment (1977), it's a story of star cross'd love and lust it seems could only come from the French and not be supremely creepy as a middle aged man has a torrid affair with a teenage girl.

Middle aged friends Laurent (Vincent Cassel) and Antoine (François Cluzet) go on holiday with their respective teenage daughters, Marie (Alice Isaaz) and Louna (Lola Le Lann). Laurent is divorced, Antoine on the verge of it, and they want nothing more than to relax and unwind for a few weeks with their girls in a dishevelled but beautiful house in rural Corsica that's been in Antoine's family since he was a boy.

But it's hard for Laurent to ignore how much Louna has grown up, and when the girl develops a childish but passionate crush on him, the Wild Moment of the title sees them consummate their lust on the beach the night of a hedonistic dance party.

Louna is entranced, convinced the pair are in love and will be together forever, while Laurent is horrified at what he's done in the heat of the moment, and when Antoine gets wind of her daughter's having been seduced by a much older man, he resolves to catch the guy exact the singular wrath of an overprotective father.

Getting Antoine even more riled up and baying for blood is a subplot about the wild pigs of the local countryside that threaten to destroy his garden and his bloodlust to take them out with the stash of shotguns in the house.

Is it all a sexist, middle-aged male fantasy? Of course it is, but that doesn't mean it's not worth watching. If the premise was nothing but a pervy, titillating drama it might get boring, but the script by Lisa Azuelos and director Jean-François Richet is sensitive enough about the where the characters are in their lives.

Louna just wants fun and passion in her life, is aware of the burgeoning power of her female beauty but is stil confused about what to do with it, conscious of the judgement most boys and men (including her father) will impose on her for it.

A year older, Marie is more worldly, wanting only to let her hair down and horrified by her father's disgraceful moment of weakness. And Laurent is a rabbit caught in a trap, with his best friend on one side and his erstwhile lover on the other, as terrified at being found out as he is what he's become thanks to what he did.

None of which means One Wild Moment is a dark drama of abuse and sexual power imbalance. When viewed through the lens of the #Metoo age the idea itself can be seen as pretty dark, and a legitimate feminist response to the premise could indeed be that the whole thing's an eyeroll-inducing fantasy dreamed up by some middle age man losing his sexual potency (not least because – while the 22-year-old Le Laan has several full-frontal nude scenes – we only ever see Cassel's shirt off).

But the operative word is 'fantasy'. One Wild Moment is a romantic comedy, not an emotional drama, so Laurent's actions to cover his tracks (and Antoine's to get to the bottom of the mystery) comprise a comedy of errors rather than betrayal and pain.

Strip away the sociopolitical awareness of our times and it's a funny, gilt-edged and very sexy comedy of errors, and although it's hard to pinpoint why, the French language and sensibility makes it all quite harmless fun.

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