The closing film of this year’s Cinéfranco festival is The Easy Way Out, a family drama based on a novel by Stephen McCauly and adapted for the screen by Brice Cauvin. The drama this family faces is not life and death situations, but mostly comes from the romantic entanglements of three sons and the ways in which their parents tend to insert themselves into their lives. It’s more bitter than sweet, but the characters really don’t face adversities greater than their own insecurities and indecision.
Of the three brothers, the film centres mainly on Antoine (Laurent Lafitte) who has been with his boyfriend for ten years but gets freaked out at the idea of owning a house together. His brother Louis (Nicolas Bedos) is recently engaged yet in love with another woman, and the oldest sibling, Gérard (Benjamin Biolay) is living back at home with their parents (Marie-Christine Barrault and Guy Marchand) after his wife left him. Even though they are all struggling and rarely seem to see eye to eye, the sweetness comes from how close they remain despite all of this. Like all families, they bicker almost constantly while together, but that doesn’t stop them from being very involved in one another’s lives, for better or worse.
The Easy Way Out is an ironic translation of the Frenc title L’art de la Fugue (the closest direct translation I could figure out was ‘The Art of Eloping”), as these characters are all looking for an easy way out of their situations and learning that that doesn’t exist when the emotions of loved ones are involved. As English audiences familiar with French films will already know, French cinema does not move at the same pace that we’ve become accustomed to, and this film is no exception. It can feel a little slow at times, and the minimal tension rests on the surface, yet it’s not trying to be anything it’s not and achieves an interesting portrait of a family dealing with difficult changes.
The Easy Way Out screens Sunday April 19 @ 6:30pm