Unable to get out of her car, a life-weary nurse finds herself embarked on a motoring journey with an angry young thief at her side. “Free wheel”, directed by Didier Barcelo, is a pretty comedy with dramatic accents that touches on the therapeutic camera.
There are days like this when it would have been better to stay in bed. This is what Louise (Marina Foïs), a washed-up nurse whose life seems to have come to a standstill, will learn to her cost. While the voice of Sacha Distel sings the words of “La belle vie” (“without love, without worries, without problems …”), the forty-year-old rushes downstairs from her building in front of a contract worker giving her a fine. . Forced to move her vehicle, she suddenly finds herself stuck in her old mustard Volvo, seized with anguish, frozen in panic.
Louise then drives, drives, drives again, unable to leave her car which ends up being stolen by Paul (Benjamin Voisin), a young man determined to avenge the death of his brother. The unlikely duo embarks on a journey towards Cap Ferret, picking up a few ephemeral and eccentric passengers.
>> To see: the trailer of the film
A road movie without fuss
A veteran of advertising, Didier Barcelo signs his first feature film with “En roue libre” at the age of 60. A belated enterprise whose sober, simple, tight staging is relieved of all bluster. The first success of the film lies in its diversity of tones, the story going from crazy comedy to existential road movie, until touching the therapeutic camera since, one suspects it, the reasons which prevent Louise from leaving her car belong to psychoanalysis.
The film thus navigates with relative ease between humor and more dramatic intimate revelations, digging as it goes along the rough edges of its two characters flayed by their past.
For it to work, it still had to be, and this is the second success of “Freewheeling”, a couple of actresses and comedians in tune. We knew Marina Foïs virtuoso in the art of linking, even combining laughter and tears, comedy and tragedy. Here she is ideal as a woman who has reached a radical breaking point. Facing her, Benjamin Voisin, revealed and confirmed in “Summer 85” by François Ozon and “Illusions perdus” by Xavier Giannoli, proves the full extent of his talent with a role very different from those of his previous films.
Marina Foïs and Benjamin Voisin in Didier Barcelo’s film “Freewheeling”. [Julien Panie – Memento Distribution]
An inner and outer journey
If we can regret that “En roue libre” relies a little too much on its single duo guided by a form of resilience that is a bit over the phone and that it relegates its adventures and its secondary characters to anecdotal presences (this old man nothing crazy, this electrosensitive hitchhiker who can’t stand the waves of cell phones and walkie-talkies or this shrink forced to start a consultation in the cockpit of the Volvo), it is very difficult not to let ourselves be carried away by this inner and outer journey, whose delicacy and sweet fantasy forgive its ease.
Freewheeling, by Didier Barcelo, with Marina Foïs and Benjamin Voisin. On view now in French-speaking cinemas.