The bond between a mother and son is a very special one. Love is at the forefront, of course, but there are limits. When a marriage ends, the child may feel a few things, one of which is fear and concern that he or she will “lose” their parent. Eventually, that parent will probably develop feelings for another and this might instill feelings of jealousy and resentment from the child. The new French film Lolo explores this conflict and while it feels a tad similar to more mainstream films like, say, Cyrus, it is a film with more heart and better comedic moments. Writer, director, and star Julie Delpy shows off her skills here and the results are actually rather moving.
Lolo focuses on Violette (Delpy), a career-driven 40-year-old working in the fashion industry who doesn’t seem to have time for any romance. Enter Jean-Rene (Dany Boon), a good-natured computer nerd who randomly encounters Violette at a party. The two hit it off and soon develop a cute little relationship. Eventually, Jean-Rene meets Violette’s teenage son Lolo (Vincent Lacoste) and things eventually escalate into disaster. Lolo wants his mom to himself in a weird almost Oedipus-like complex. Needless to say, the film turns from adorable love story to bizarre dark comedy. All in all, it’s a film that features smart writing and fine acting.
Julie Delpy is a real wonder. Pulling triple duty here as writer, director, and star, she certainly knows what she’s doing. Spoken in French, Lolo is a film that most audiences can appreciate. The screenplay is simple and easy to digest and the story is very entertaining. There are more than a few similarities to 2010’s Cyrus and that’s okay because this movie builds on that and offers more complex characters and funnier jokes. The likable Dany Boon (Welcome to the Sticks, Micmacs) is a breath of fresh air here, with excellent comedic timing and a face very hard not to fall in love with. He has the best moments in the film and is an absolute joy to watch. Much of that can be said for the young Vincent Lacoste (The French Kissers, Hippocrates: Diary of a French Doctor), who is not only good-looking but a natural in front of the camera.
Set in Paris and full of interesting characters, Lolo could have been set in any major city. It has universal appeal and that might be because Delpy is both French and American. Her story in Lolo is a fun one but it isn’t without its disturbing moments. The Oedipus complex is presented, yes, but it doesn’t overwhelm the audience. Cyrus had many more awkward moments, making it more difficult to watch. Lolo is a bittersweet love story with a roadblock putting a damper on romance and true happiness. People going into this film will go to see Julie Delpy do what she does best, portray rich and likable characters and they will leave seeing another strong performance from Dany Boon. Lolo is a fine film about flawed and unique characters and it is definitely worth the 100-minute runtime, English subtitles and all.