With a father suffering from neurodegenerative disease, a young woman lives with her eight-year-old daughter. While struggling to secure a decent nursing home, she runs into an unavailable friend with whom she embarks on an affair.
The latest film from Mia Hansen-Løve finds her back on familiar ground after the slightly disappointing English language debut that was ‘Bergman Island’, in the story of a single mother trying to cope with her father’s descent into dementia. She is Sandra, played by Léa Seydoux, a widow who lives in Paris with her young daughter while working as a translator. As her and her family try to look after her dad as best they can and find a suitable nursing home where he can go, she also begins an affair with a friend of her late husband’s, which adds additional complications to her life.
This is a bittersweet and thoughtful film about one woman trying to make sense of her life and the circumstances she’s ended up in, in many cases not through her own choice. Léa Seydoux is terrific as Sandra, particularly in sequences where she’s alone with her thoughts (her facial expressions on a solo bus journey are particularly moving), and I was swept up in the journey her character goes on. I found the scenes between Sandra and her father Georg (Pascal Greggory) to be difficult to watch, but quietly touching as she reckons with her father no longer being the person he once was. Through this, ‘One Fine Morning’ subtly depicts a reality that many of us will have faced or will face at some stage, and in Sandra’s quiet restraint we see how hard it is.
Life is messy and Mia Hansen-Løve gets that – there’s no judgement here on either Sandra or Clément (Melvil Poupaud) for their actions, just a neutral depiction of two people finding each other and falling in love regardless of whether it’s right or not. I liked how the film almost draws parallels between the two main events occurring in Sandra’s life, with her father’s demise almost contrasting with and feeding her desire for love and passion with Clément. In lesser hands this would not work nearly as well as it does in ‘One Fine Morning’, but Hansen-Løve has a remarkable handle on this material and in Léa Seydoux she has a genuinely excellent performer.
‘One Fine Morning’ is another poignant slice of life from Mia Hansen-Løve with top performances, relatable characters and a story that draws you into these characters lives. It is very, very good.
Directed By: Mia Hansen-Løve
Starring: Léa Seydoux, Pascal Greggory, Melvil Poupaud, Nicole Garcia, Fejria Deliba, Camille Leban Martins and Sarah Le Picard