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Ma Vie (Ma Vraie Vie à Rouen) (15)



Review by: Graeme Kay | Rating: Two

AN ENJOYABLE look at a year in the life of Etienne (Tavares), a 16-year-old ice-skating fanatic growing up in Rouen.

When Etienne is given a cam-corder for his 16th birthday, he proceeds to drive everyone, his mother, his grandmother and Ludo, his best friend, mad with his constant surveillance.

Through the lens of the camera, Etienne, a pleasant, well-balanced and handsome lad, explores the agony and ecstacy of teenage life in the 21st Century.

He is fascinated by his friend, Ludo's progress with women, so much so that one of Ludo's paramours dumps him because of his 'creepy' friend.

But, strangely, Etienne does not show any particular interest in girls himself.

Instead, he develops a crush on his geography teacher, which is unfortunate, since said tutor is about to embark on a relationship with Etienne's mum.

When the three of them go on holiday together the plot begins to thicken…

Despite a strong cast and some witty, sharply observed insights into the working of a teenage boy's mind, Olivier Duscatel and Jacques Martineau's home-video style film is perhaps a little too slight to successfully sustain its length..

Yes, we do care about what happens to Etienne and his amiable friend Ludo, but we do occasionally wish they'd get on with it.

That fault aside, however, for the most part this is an entertaining, life-affirming piece of work that echoes the style of veteran filmmaker, Eric Rohmer, and promises bigger and better things to come for both the directors and their leading man.

If you've got money to burn see it at the cinema. If not, wait for the video. But definitely give it a look.

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