It is the morning after having seen The Adopted, (Les adoptés), a wonderful film by French actress and pop singer Mélanie Laurent. I cannot stop thinking about it. The Adopted is not only Mélanie’s directorial debut, but this stunning actress also wrote the piece and stars in it. Triple threat much? Rather, quadruple, let’s not forget the singing thing. On the way to the screening, I thought, “The Adopted, must be a documentary about adopting kids from Africa, some kind of actress vanity project or perhaps something personal along the lines of Angelina Jolie’s In the Land of Blood and Honey.” Boy was I all sorts of wrong.
The Adopted is a beautifully shot, sensitively written, tenderly acted, heartbreaking sad, lovely, moving film. I can not list enough adjectives or adverbs to describe this first-time, uber-creative project by the actress from Inglourious Basterds and more recently, Beginnners. The second lead actress Marie Denarnaud needs to be mentioned because she is fantastic in the role of Mélanie’s sister. Apparently the film does not have a distributor yet, an injustice of the highest order. It reminds me that mediocrity is the key in our country because things like The Hunger Games and The Descendants cause all sorts of stirs and buzz, while a little precious film like The Adopted tries to find its way. And it will, if it is the last thing I do.
Synopsis: This family drama is divided into three parts, each following a separate character’s point of view. Marie (Marie Denarnaud) is a sensitive and intelligent bookseller who couldn’t be more different from her adopted sister Lisa (Laurent). Nevertheless devoted to one another, they, along with their alcoholic mother and Lisa’s young son Leo, form a tight family unit. But when Marie meets and falls in love with Alex (Denis Ménochet, whom some viewers will remember from the opening sequence of Inglourious Basterds), the dynamic between the sisters starts to change, and cracks appear in what seemed an unbreakable bond. A tragic accident brings the growing distance between the women into sharp focus, and those members of the family left behind are forced to find a way to survive together.