Two is a Family

TWO IS A FAMILY (Demain Tout Commence). Starring: Omar Sy, Clemence Poesy, Gloria Colston, and Antoine Bertrand. Directed by Hugo Gelin. Rated M (Coarse language).117 min.

This subtitled French comedy-drama tells the story of the relationship between a Frenchman and a child who was handed to him as a baby by a woman who suddenly re-enters his life. The film is a remake of a 2013 Spanish language movie, “Instructions Not Included”.

Omar Sy takes the lead role in the film, as he did in the award winning movie, “The Intouchables” (2011), where he played to perfection the role of servant to a handicapped master. In the 2011 film, he demonstrated a special talent for situational comedy, which was further evident in “Monsieur Chocolate” (2016).

Samuel (Omar Sy) lives a carefree life on the French Riviera, partying hard, and playing the pleasure-seeking bachelor with abandon. His life shows signs of precious little responsibility. One night, a former girlfriend, with whom he had a one-night stand, Kristin (Clemence Poesy), arrives with a baby wrapped in her arms. The child is Gloria (Gloria Colston), and Kristin claims that Samuel is her father. Kristin asks Samuel to hold Gloria then walks away. For Samuel, rearing an infant poses significant problems for him, and he finds the going tough.

Samuel decides to track Kristin down in London, with little success. He wants to give the child back to Kristin so that he can resume his carefree life on the Côte d’Azur, but eventually decides to settle down in London with Gloria, and raise her as best he can. His attempts to cope allow Sy to demonstrate his special talent for creating spontaneous-looking comic moments. 

Samuel lands a job as a stuntman in a television show, which becomes highly successful under the guiding hand of Bernie (Antoine Bertrand), a gay French TV producer. When the television show becomes a hit, and gains in popularity, he raises Gloria in a lifestyle that is highly unconventional. As the years go by, he forges a strong relationship with Gloria, and they become very attached to each other. After eight years, Kristin reappears, to reclaim her child, and Samuel gets into a custody battle where he ends up fighting desperately for the child he loves.

This is a comedy-drama that combines comic and emotional elements that strongly reinforce the positive value of good parenting. Samuel makes the passage from being an anxious single father, who is a reluctant father to a child he never knew he had, to a loving parent, eager to protect and care for a child who he feels responsible for. He grows into the role of caring father in leaps and bounds, and Sy makes Samuel’s transformation look easy. The pace of his character development, however, is not entirely believable. In stories of this kind, characters don’t credibly grow from one type of person into another without sensitive dramatic treatment, and this film fails to supply it.

The film has more than its fair share of cuteness as the relationship between Gloria and Samuel expresses itself in mutual displays of sentimentality. There is definite chemistry between Sy and Poesy in the two main roles, however, but we grow to like them rather than learn how they both change to become a family. The film has a very surprising twist in its final moments which will bring tears to the eyes of many viewers, but the film in its second half gains substantial dramatic strength as the interactions among Samuel, Kristin, and Gloria unfold, and Gloria tries to come to grips with wanting both a mother and a father.

This is a likeable film that has moments of charm, and shows Sy’s considerable flair for situational comedy. Gloria Colston is luminous as the child. Sy finds humour in situations that pull genuine smiles as he has done so ably in previous films, but the film only passably teaches the viewer the lessons of good parenting. Its title suggests that father and daughter make a family together, even with a mother who stays away, but obvious sentimentality keeps on getting in the way of the core arguments it wants to make.

Peter W. Sheehan is Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting

Palace Films

Released June 28th., 2018

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