The film Retour Chez ma Mère (German: Willkommen im Hotel Mama) gave me some laughter and food for thought. Although maybe it wasn’t anything exceptional, it does belong to a new crop of French films that are more accessible to the public and – pleasantly – more easily digestible.
There was a time, during the 80’s, when French films used to be unnecessarily obscure, slow and boring. One had the impression one needed a very high IQ in order to grasp their hidden meaning. Fortunately, things have changed and many of the recent productions originating in France are really good.
In Retour Chez ma Mère, Josiane Balasko plays an elderly widow who lives in an apartment in Provence and has a relationship with a gentleman her age, who lives in the same building. One of her children, Stephanie (Alexandra Lamy), loses her job, and has to move back in with her. Stephanie’s siblings make their appearance for a family dinner.
Altogether the atmosphere is not what their mama had hoped for.
Old grudges come up, and the usual problems about money and family property arise. If you are over 40 and have brothers and sisters, the film will probably remind you of situations you’d rather forget.
Retour Chez ma Mère is indeed realistic. It brings to the screen scenes from our everyday life and characters who are all around us. The one sister who is a bitch and really doesn’t know it. The brother who enjoys the good life and hasn’t got time for anything else.
And, of course, there’s this unfathomable mother-daughter relationship that’s a source of so many problems and conflicts… even tragedies sometimes.
But don’t worry, the film is no tragedy. It has a lot of laugh-out-loud moments and it will surely amuse you.
Retour Chez ma Mére
Monday (05/09): OmU (French with German subtitles) – 20:00
Tuesday (06/09): dubbed in German – 20:00