Bright Days Ahead
When a married, retired dentist Caroline (Fanny Ardant) attends a computer class, she falls for her significantly younger lecturer (Laurant Lafitte) and embarks on a passionate love affair, remaining pragmatic even when learning he has had a crush on her since before the class started. Everything goes well enough until her husband finds out about her affair with this admirer, and the fantasy comes crashing down.
This kind of story has been done to death, especially in European cinema. But this tale of truly learning the difference between passion and love works almost entirely thanks to the strong and radiant work of Ardant in the lead role. Some actors just have that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ and at 65 years young, Ardant is radiant as she commands every single frame of the film that she is in. She makes this standard story compelling to watch with simple expressions of lust and impending pain, smartly showing her understanding of the impending dissolution of her passionate love affair while still getting the absolute most out of it. Lafitte is solid as the diversionary man swept up in romance discovering how a fleeting passion can never truly replace a life spent together.
While it wraps itself up a little plainly, predictably, and dully, but while it lasts and thanks to Ardant Bright Days Ahead creates a great journey even when the destination is a bit of a letdown. (Dave Voigt)
Saturday, March 29th, 6:30pm, The Royal