One Fine Morning, 2022.
Written and Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve.
Starring Léa Seydoux, Pascal Greggory, Melvil Poupaud, Nicole Garcia, Camille Leban Martins, Elsa Guedj, Ema Zampa, and Kester Lovelace.
With a father suffering from neurodegenerative disease, a young woman lives with her eight-year-old daughter. While struggling to secure a decent nursing home, she runs into a friend who although being in a relationship, embarks an affair.
To say that Sandra (Léa Seydoux) has a lot on her plate would be an understatement. In writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve’s One Fine Morning (her follow-up to the brilliant Bergman Island), she is a loving single mother (although not necessarily a fan of the childish animated movies her daughter always wants to see in theaters), constantly visiting her father to help in the wake of a neurodegenerative disease that continues to send his health downhill fast, and juggles a quickly blossoming relationship with married father Clément (Melvil Poupaud) knowing full well that he may have to break things off and do what’s right for his family even though Sandra is the one he loves (there’s no love at all between him and his wife).
The beauty of One Fine Morning comes from Mia Hansen-Løve’s conscious effort not to condemn anyone for their actions, presenting this as a messy human story filled with realistic behavior, even when the cycle of events dips into repetition. It’s also refreshing observing a female lead that’s more focused on lust, even if it occasionally gets on Clément’s nerves, who would love to do some activities besides sex, particularly outdoors in public.
Amid these secretive interactions and encounters, Sandra’s philosopher professor father Georg (a remarkable Pascal Greggory who believably sells every harrowing facet of his declining condition) is forced to leave his home and transition life into several different nursing homes until coming across the perfect fit. There is also an intriguingly complicated dynamics here: Sandra struggles to assist her father in moving around, primarily because she doesn’t want to pity him.
Naturally, it adds another layer to a fantastic performance from Léa Seydoux, seemingly going from free and fulfilled to sad with each scene. She also has relatively close connections with her mother and sister, whereas her father has a lover who is medically unfit to care for him.
During the frequent moves to nursing homes, Sandra also unpacks and studies all of her father’s belongings, inevitably realizing that our creations, work, and valuables will define our personalities long after we are gone, whether physically or mentally. It is a compelling hook for some of the later scenes here. In contrast, the romance starts to repeat itself but ultimately comes to a satisfying conclusion before wearing out its welcome.
It’s far from Mia Hansen-Løve’s best, but One Fine Morning is a fine film; nothing more and nothing less.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com