Monday, November 12, 2012

Come as You Are (2011)

Come as You Are • Hasta la Vista! (2011)
Genre: Comedy
Director: Geoffrey Enthoven
Starring: Gilles De Schryver, Robrecht Vanden Thoren, Tom Audenaert, Isabelle de Hertogh
Language: Dutch, French, Spanish
Duration: 108 min.
Rating: 7.6
Three young disabled men from Belgium go on a road trip to lose their virginity in a Spanish brothel.
Come as You Are is a film by Flemish director Geoffrey Enthoven, written by Pierre De Clercq, and inspired by the real life experiences of Asta Philpot. It premiered at the 2011 Ostend Film Festival, and has since traveled the festival circuit picking up numerous accolades including the Audience Award at the 2012 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and the Grand Prix des Amériques for Best Film at the 2011 Montréal World Film Festival.

Sounds a little bit like Intouchables, but it's a stronger film all around. The story does play to the formula and is fairly predictable, but Enthoven manages to fuse heartfelt drama with hilarious comedy while avoiding many of the tired cliches, stereotypes, or obvious gags, that are usually found in a crowd pleaser.

Three good friends: the friendly and almost blind Jozef (Tom Audenaert), socially immature paraplegic Philip (Robrecht Vanden Thoren), and partially paralyzed and terminally ill Lars (Gilles De Schryver), announce to their parents, who they rely on for assistance in their daily lives, that they plan on taking a road trip through the wine route, alone. Of course that's just a cover for their true destination, a Spanish brothel that specializes in 'people like us'. When their parents inevitably object, the three boys make plans in secret, and find a chaperone from Brussels named Claude (Isabelle de Hertogh), a physically intimidating and grouchy French speaking ex-con woman who they initially don't get along with but eventually warm up to.

This one works primarily because the characters are not simply politically correct stock caricatures defined by their disabilities, but real people with real human qualities and flaws. Philip for example is portrayed as not so pleasant of a guy, in truth he's a bit of a prick, holding a grudge against the entire world; and it's interesting to see a character in his condition who we aren't supposed to feel sorry for. To make it all convincing, the three leads each give solid performances, and de Hertogh is very impressive in her supporting role.

Also, there's the seamless and genuine way Enthoven alternates the screenplay between laughter and tears. The jokes are organic and not the tired, visual gag then immediate cut to incongruous reaction shot, that modern comedies are plagued with; and the emotions are never the result of cheap sentimentality either. Sure, this is ultimately a predictable road movie that we've seen many times before, but it never feels forced or try hard, and that makes for a refreshing and enjoyable watch.
Bonjour Tristesse


FrontRoomCinema said...

This sounds brilliant. I need to see this NOW!!

Sorry I was absent last week BT. I am back now, had a busy week at work. Can you forgive me?

FrontRoomCinema said...

Liking the new font too.... Or are my eyes playing tricks on me!?

The Angry Lurker said...

What certificate is it as it sounds like a hoot!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I'm sure you'll love this one, and no worries Scott, I've been neglecting my rounds as well.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks. I realized I was using a font that not everyone has installed, so I changed it to a nice webfont a few days ago.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Not sure, it wasn't rated at the festival where I saw it, but aside from some salty language there isn't anything really objectionable in it.

d_4 said...

Stronger than Intouchables is enough to get me interested. To be completely honest, neither the trailer or the poster really grab my attention, and the plot isn't exactly perfect, but I'll keep an eye out for it anyway.

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