AF FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL: The Trouble With You
by Annie junor
This is what happens when you fall for the bad guy. Twice. That’s two bad guys.
Get ready to hear ‘putain’ at least fifty times in the next 108 minutes, this one’s a French cop crime-comedy. Whilst conducting police interviews, the recently widowed Yvonne Santi (Adèle Haenel) discovers that her deceased husband – who was also on the force – led a criminal double life.
Yvonne tracks down Antoine, an innocent man who her husband sent to prison as a scapegoat for one of his crimes, who has just completed his eight-year sentence. Antoine struggles to adjust, particularly with his tendency for aggression and biting off ears during fights - and takes to Yvonne, who shows him great tolerance and understanding, though he isn’t initially aware of how much she knows about his false imprisonment.
This is a film full of classic French humour. It’s dry, a bit dirty, reliant on repetition to build laughs, and it makes for a great comedic view. From the start, Yvonne is interviewing people arrested at a BDSM orgy, and references of BDSM lace the film making for a sense of consistent ridiculousness. It all culminates in one of the characters robbing a jewellery store in a full latex suit with voice changer, armed with a giant black phallic inflatable. As security guards watch on over the store’s cameras, viewing the most emotionally charged exchange of the film, one asks the other to “quit the crackers”, as his loud crunching is ruining the show. Even in the most bittersweet part of the story, the audience is not left without being encouraged to laugh.
Beyond its dry wit and fantastic supporting cast, The Trouble With You does speak to the issue of prisoners leaving unequipped for the world outside prison, only made worse-so for those who are convicted of crimes they did not commit. Antoine is permanently changed by his sentence, and a large part of the difficulty he experiences re-adjusting is because he feels he must be a criminal, even though he never committed a crime in the first place. Though his prison time does not explain his having learnt how to carjack, he has learnt how to fight and feels he must act like a criminal because that is just who he is.
The Trouble With You is a fun taste of French cinema, with the potential for a deeper takeaway message about the debilitating effects of prison. This one will make you laugh, even sometimes when you’re not sure if you want to… but just sit back and enjoy the ride!
The Trouble With You is screening in Australian cinemas as part of the 2019 Alliance Française French Film Festival from March 5th to April 18th.