A photographer diagnosed with terminal cancer decides to try and help someone after first hurting those around him.
François Ozon’s first widescreen outing is the second part of a proposed triptych on death that began with the sublime Under The Sand. But this is a less empathetic picture, with Melvil Poupaud’s Parisian photographer coming to terms with the discovery of his terminal cancer by wounding everyone close to him. Even devoted Bohemian grandmother Jeanne Moreau is treated to a cutting remark after sharing the news that he has withheld from everyone else. This suppressed bitterness is, however, easier to swallow than Poupaud’s sudden acceptance of his fate and his decision to help childless waitress Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi conceive. But Ozon redeems this sentimental episode (complete with a tacky motel liaison) with a finale of melancholic beauty.
A somewhat dubious central skirmish is kept masterfully under cotntrol by Ozon, without whose direction this would be a bitter pill to swallow.