One Fine Morning – Movie (2022)

Review by Marzia Gandolfi

Monday 11 April 2022

Sandra Kinsler, a translator dedicated to her work and to others, lives in Paris with her little girl and the weight of mourning. Widowed for five years, she rediscovers love with Clément, an old friend in the midst of a marital crisis. But that sudden new feeling collides with reality and her father’s degenerative disease, a philosophy teacher who lives alone and needs constant care. To manage her parent’s irreversible dementia, the painful search for ‘hospitalization’ begins for Sandra and her family. Between a life that goes out and a love that begins, Sandra takes advantage of those last moments of complicity with her father and looks on the horizon for a new beginning.

A beautiful morning it’s a disarmingly simple film about life, nothing but life.

A story that questions what remains when we leave, what we leave behind with the memory of us: our books, our secret collections, our paintings, our language, our city, our rituals and all that it makes the thickness of an existence. Starting from a personal experience, Mia Hansen-Løve chooses two regimes of representation, just as she did in her previous film (On Bergman Island), perhaps less radical but always distinct. The overwhelm of love is reflected in the mourning of a father who is no longer truly present. A man enters the protagonist’s life and another leaves. Something dies and something (re)born spontaneously, words and gestures of love against the assaults of a disabling disease. Mia Hansen-Løve makes del weight of the drama a sort of pendulum that regulates the movement of the film and narrates the brutality of existence, exploring suffering and venturing unrestrained into the terrain of ardent passion.
A beautiful morning it is undoubtedly the author’s most carnal film, the fatality of old age is echoed by thwarted love, the tragic horizontality of the parent, admitted to the clinic, is echoed by the horizontality of the lovers, literally and psychologically stripped. If Melvil Poupaud, fragile and firm, spreads his opaque charm on the film, Léa Seydoux is the erotic vertigo that constantly refers to the ‘beautiful morning’ of the title. Discreet, natural and practical in jeans and under a very short cut, she imposes herself emotionally and humbly fits into Mia Hansen-Løve’s design, at the extreme of the human condition and fully within life. The author reveals the strength of the actress, beyond the glamor and within her a sadness that never stops shedding tears.

The sweetness of an approach, the shared pleasure of an embrace or a conversation insinuate the times of illness. In the company of Haneke (Love) and of Ozon (Everything went fine), the author follows the slope of the evening and the downward movement of the loss of memory and consciousness of her loved one but then sets off in search of nuggets of life.

As in a verse by Battiato, A beautiful morning she finds “the dawn within the dusk”, the breath within the most twilight scenes, transforming the pain into gold, riding the trauma and surmounting it with the stillness of her heroine. Pascal Greggory, noble actor of Éric Rohmer and Patrice Chéreau, plays a man with no history, who has lost all his faculties but who will leave his daughters only good memories. All time whisper, and without adding artificial amplifiers to the narrative, Mia Hansen-Løve compares a daughter to ‘inventory time’. But as often in her cinema, her melancholy corresponds to a vital impulse that allows her characters to revive despite everything. Always working on the side of hope, she chooses the profession of translator for her protagonist, overwhelmed by a great love and by the irruption of an incomprehensible and dizzying accident. Listening to the world, Sandra rearranges the ‘disoriented’ words of her father and her lover, finding her harmony at the end of her pain.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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