Driving Madeline (Male, 91 min) Directed by Christian Carrion****
Charles’ (Danny Boone) career has become his prison.
Sure, he’s his own boss, but the 46-year-old now works 12 hours a day, six days a week and is still struggling to make ends meet.
“Every year, I travel 120,000 km. It’s been three trips around the world. And I don’t have a single memory to hold on to, because I’ve never left France. It’s a pity, isn’t it? The driver is a pity.”
Increasingly disappointed and angry (especially when passengers try to tell him his job by “suggesting” alternative routes), Charles is also only one traffic offense away from losing his license and chance of winning. The relative comfort of his Renault Espace.
All this means that he needs to think carefully about the prices that will reduce your stress and increase his income. So, at first, the request to pick up a customer on the other side of Paris does not satisfy. However, the dispatcher assures him that it is worth “a good sum”, especially since he can start the timer on his way to getting it back.
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Unfortunately, Madeline Keeler (Line Renaud) is unimpressed by her horns when Charles arrives at her riverside home. Once seated in the cab, she reveals that this is a trip she hoped she would never have to take.
After she fell down the stairs six months ago, doctors determined the 92-year-old could no longer live on her own. But before she’s institutionalized, she’d like to take another trip down memory lane, provided Charles wouldn’t mind taking a few detours on his way to his final destination – a family nursing home.
What follows is a subtle, sweet, and surprisingly enjoyable drama whose narrative and melodramatic backstory may not appeal to everyone at first, but will eventually win you over.
While director and co-writer Christian Carrion (Joyeux Noel) certainly deserves some credit for hitting the right note in a story that might have been too seductive or too sweet, it’s really a trio of shows that stick.
Now in her eighth decade as an artist, Renaud (Welcome to the Sticks) is simply brilliant as a woman who remembers the ups and downs, heartaches and loves of her multi-story life. Whether it’s the honey-orange kisses of his American soldier lover or an act of violence that frees and fetters her, Renaud sells it all convincingly, with invaluable help from the work of Alice Izaz (Netflix’s Notre Dame series) who brings these scenes to life when Madeleine was young.
Then there is Bonn. Best known for his broad comedic performances (he currently stars on the small screen alongside Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in Murder Mystery 2), Charles makes him laugh a little, but brings humanity and depth to a character who could have been everything, too. easy. Cypher, or one-dimensional. He is the audience’s emotional barometer and Madeline’s driving guide–deftly guiding us through an ultimately more than satisfying journey.
Those expecting something similar to The Green Book or Driving Miss Daisy should be warned that despite the seemingly unavoidable variance, this offers a few darker turns and power bumps than you might expect. However, this makes this “beautiful race” (translation of its original title in French Une belle piste) all the more wonderful.
In French with English subtitles, Driving Madeleine is now playing in select theaters across the country.