Filial Love and Adolescent Obsession
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 06/04/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"'Grosse bêtise' or BREAKIN' OUT is another example of how well French films deal with intimate subjects, taking the time to explore emotional attitudes that so often are ignored by Hollywood films. In this case the extent that true filial love can lead to dangerous consequences is played out in a story that is well written (Stanislas Carré de Malberg and Pascal Dupont), well directed (Olivier Péray), and well acted by a fine cast.
Nicolas Guérin (Erwan Demaure) is 13-year-old happy son of Laetitia (Isabelle Habiague) and Thierry Guérin who make their living selling drugs. In the first moments of the film the mother and father are in a car accident, killing the father and resulting in the arrest and imprisonment of the mother for drug trafficking. Nicolas is devastated and immediately begins to think of ways to restore his mother. He is placed in a warm and loving foster home of the Delmas (Christian Crahay and Nathalie Willame) and their adolescent daughter Elodie (Stéphane Caillard). He is treated well until he enters school where he encounters pier mocking about his mother being a jailbird. One young friend Tanker (Ouassini Embarek), whose own father in jailed for a history of being a gangster, befriends him and quickly becomes a caring confidant and facilitator.
The two lads form a warm friendship and begin to devise ways for Nicolas' mother's escape. Eventually Elodie becomes involved and the three plan a fake funeral for Nicolas because that is the only way his mother could be temporarily released from prison - to attend her son's funeral! The plans are complex and the results of the scheme are driven to the extreme with a surprise ending that involves a fruitless run for the border. The manner in which filial devotion affects each of the film's characters draws some touching conclusions.
Though the film at first appears to condone some anti-social behavior, the sensitivity of the director keeps realistic reins on the story. In the end this is a fine little film about family and friendship and the benefits and obligations of both. Grady Harp, June 05"