Un jour mon père viendra: Discussion Thread - Jamie Bamber News — LiveJournal
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Un jour mon père viendra: Discussion Thread
  IT'S TIME! Or rather, seeing how quickly Amazon.ca shipped out the Region 1 DVDs, asta77 and I figured enough time had passed for folks on both sides of the Atlantic to receive a copy so we could open a discussion thread for Un jour mon père viendra. Has it been worth the wait? Let's put it this way - there will be discussion. But I think we can all happily agree that the world needs more opportunities for giant, adorable dopey grins like this one...   

(Also, more swim trunks with turtles on them. Who doesn't love turtles?! ;))

  If you haven't ordered your DVD yet, here are those links again: Region 1 (Canada) | Region 2 (France)
Hustle back here and pitch in your thoughts when you get it. This thread isn't going anywhere. ;)

On with the show, then?...

I guess I'll get us started. Right off the bat: I'm still damned happy Jamie finally did a comedy. Fingers crossed the wait for the next one won't be so awfully long. He's almost unfeasibly handsome in it, and he gets to be goofy and charming and has a couple of really fine, funny moments and he hardly ever gets to do that, so HURRAH! 

As for the movie as a whole...  Ultimately it is about the two fathers and their coming to terms with their past actions. Gustave is easier to embrace, despite his past mistakes, than Bernard, and both actors give good performances but I did like Jugnot's slightly better. (Maybe I'm just inclined to prefer the big-hearted serial frak-up over the good-hearted but emotionally challenged fussbudget. Especially if he can cook. ;) ) I have to say one of the aspects of the script I loved is the way that while Stephen frets over his inability to bond with who he thinks Chloe's father is (and Bernard can't catch a break), the man she grew up believing to be her father bonds with him almost immediately, and he doesn't even realize it. :) But I'm getting ahead of myself... 

Because it's the dads' story, to that end the relationship between Chloe and Stephen is more functional than it would be if the movie were about them. We're told how they met, how long they've been together, and she seems to have been good for him (i.e. encouraging him to pursue things which make him happy that he was never able to do under his father's thumb). Jean-Felix pointedly tells Bernard when he arrives, "I've never seen him this happy." Still, I struggled for a stronger sense of what attracted these two to each other. And I wouldn't pin that on either Jamie or Olivia (I've read some criticism of her performance, but honestly I thought Olivia was just fine).

The tone of the film is so light and airy, even when dealing with subjects like death, that it almost doesn't allow any significant romance. (Well, it's light but for one glaring exception, I'll get to THAT in a minute...) For example, after Bernard kicks Stephen out of the bedroom, when Chloe starts talking about how she's going to slip into his room later we could have had a couple of seconds where he is seduced by the idea and kind of goes along with it, then decides "NO, no, we can't and here's why..." Same when he snogs her next to the pool and she pushes him away a little too abruptly. Yeah, I know, the reaction you'd expect from a Jamie fan is "Girrrl, look at that. You're gonna push that away? So what if he's getting your dress wet, his name is on the towels, he can afford to buy you TEN MORE DRESSES." But that's not the point!... basically, it just felt to me like the movie could have let them be... sexier, if that makes any sense. (You could argue that UJMPV really is less a romantic comedy than it is a buddy movie that happens to have a wedding in it. ;) It has elements of both, but one feels more dominant for sure.) 

I just made a joke about Stephen's wealth because bwahahaha, his NAME is on the TOWELS you guys. ;) It's ridiculous and adorable. His being so rich, though, feeds into another issue, namely that Chloe's character seems too defined by her laser-guided focus on having this picture perfect princess wedding. It doesn't help that Suzanne is written as a stock supportive best friend who constantly echoes that focus (and has a running gag about also being on the prowl for a rich athlete for herself.) Also Chloe is so tense all the time because she is constantly afraid of being found out, so IMO she comes off less likeable than she should be because the script doesn't allow her enough chances to behave otherwise.

So ultimately because Chloe & Stephen's wedding is incidental to a larger narrative, it doesn't feel as though their story is quite as fleshed out as it could be. You kind of want to know more about why these two fell in love. For one thing, from what we're told there is a not-insignificant age difference. (I don't necessarily react in a knee-jerk way to age differences, but 13 years seemed a bit lengthy here. Olivia's actually 32.) Also, at least initially, a language barrier they had to overcome. So what did they have in common? Without that, and because Chloe demonstrably holds the perfect wedding thing in such high esteem, I found that a little problematic. Is she marrying him because he's hot and rich and adores her, or because she's in love with him? (No, you shouldn't have to think too hard with light comedies... but if there are gaps in the storytelling, the gears just keep turning. ;) )

Moving on... Oh, the not-light-at all scene. When the dads run into the first actor Chloe picked - from a storytelling perspective, I'm fine with the way in which it sets up the necessity of Bernard stepping in to "play" Chloe's dad, but while I was tipped off to the idea of actor-dude being a creep... I wasn't prepared for exactly what a nasty, rapey creep he actually is. That bit was SO jarring because as I pointed out before, there really aren't any other terribly risque moments in the movie, so it felt plonked in out of left field. There's no need for him to all but describe an imminent sexual assault in that moment, you could have gotten away with him being a teeny bit more "Phoarr, aye? Aye? Nudge, nudge, wink wink" and gotten the exact same point across. (Was I the only one who thought this?)

I'm sure others will bring up stuff worth dissecting, so to backtrack from critiques a bit... Jamie. Can't complain. ;) OK, I did have a couple of very brief moments of "ooh, dial it back, JB" (The proverb-off after the tasting scene is a teeny bit over the top, but not unforgiveably so!), but overall his comic timing continues to impress. (The double-take when he walks back into the bedroom and Bernard is there is GOLD. Hilarious.) And there's range! - he really sells the scene where Stephen finds out the truth and is crushed that he's been lied to all this time.

(Not to mention he's particularly gorgeous in that scene. I mean JESUS, Bamber, control yourself.
A woman's gotta breathe from time to time.)

And obviously though it's odd for all of us to hear him not speak French to the best of his ability because we know he can do better ;)... It can't be underlined enough that to fake an foreign accent (American) while speaking an entirely separate foreign language (French) is not at all easy, yet he nails it. Almost... I noticed one moment in particular where his accent sounded more Jamie than Stephen, but it's brief - anyone want to wager a guess, see if you caught it too? (The rest of the time, boy... those hard R's are so hard, I'm surprised he didn't break a tooth on them. "meRRRveilleuse" - tee hee!)

Couple more thoughts...

- One element of Chloe/Stephen that is really cute is the fussing over the music. Although let's be honest, Stephen... you have no leg to stand on criticizing The Bangles (even if it is their least interesting song) when your arrangements include a super-hairy dude playing Scorpions ON A PAN FLUTE. ;)

- Once Stephen starts going on about playing the clarinet I was hoping to see that... and then it happened off camera? Booo. Still cute, but... booo! (On the plus side, that second shirtless scene -  SEE ABOVE - is so cheekily gratuitous. It's almost as though they wrote their way out of the wine-tasting scene with Bernard getting sick specifically so they'd have a reason for Jamie to take his shirt off in the next scene. Bravo.)

- Wasn't all that jazzed by the songs by Puggy (the band who perform 90% of the songs in the film), but at the wedding when Stephen and Chloe have their big kiss... it's "Like Dylan in the Movies" by Belle & Sebastian. That made me smile, I adore Belle & Sebastian. ♥

Alright, I could go on but this post is now ludicrously long so ta very much if you read this far. Take the baton, somebody! 


p.s. - Yeah. MANY screencaps. (WinDVD, you make it too damn easy.) You can see them all HERE


17 comments or Leave a comment
charlsie_esq From: charlsie_esq Date: June 22nd, 2012 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
everything you said

. . . especially the part about the American-accented French and especially pan-flute rendition of a metal standard. I have to admit that I loved that!

I've already said how much I loved Jamie in this movie, but it bears mentioning that I am still so impressed by the voice/accent work. Also, I really liked the story pillars that Stephen's attachment to the ball and Bernard's OCD created. The expressions Jamie chose to show his disappointment every time an effort to connect with Bernard went afoul -- just so endearing.

Now, the picture of him in his wedding clothes... breathtaking! For some reason, his eyes look almost aquamarine in this movie and I wonder if it's just the tan. The shirtless scenes were gifts, there is no other explanation for it!

Bless you for those screen caps!!!

Edited at 2012-06-22 06:39 pm (UTC)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 23rd, 2012 03:07 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Stephen's attachment to the ball

I did love his anecdote about how the ball came about. Though the way he describes being electrified by Chloe watching him carries more weight re: the nuts and bolts of their attraction than it should, since we're missing so much detail. ;)

Also, we never really get to see Stephen play tennis! Would have loved some kind of video playback of a match (after Gustave describes his penchant for arguing with refs, I kind of needed to see THAT)... still, just a photo would have been great.
ragdoll From: ragdoll Date: June 22nd, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I can't argue with anything you pointed out here. I thought Jamie was absolutely adorable throughout (and not just physically). His accent was amazing - I've heard him speak French (at a con) and his accent was pretty much dead on there, so to come off sounding clearly As An American Speaking French was just sheer brilliance.

Jamie-doing-comedy was a really lovely surprise, and I thought he was able to move from goofiness to actual poignancy nicely too. The scene on the tennis court where he's drunk and miserable was great.

As for the relationship, yeah it was a bit sketchy, but I also got the feeling that Stephen loved Chloe for a number of reasons including the fact that she kept him together and gave him a direction i.e. the collecting thing. He seems like someone who can't always think for himself (due to his father's overbearing ways) except on the tennis court, so she was good for him in that capacity. He was definitely not the shallow American rich guy he seemed at the beginning...

overall, it was a sweet little film. And if nothing else, hearing the Scorpions being played on the pan flute sold it to me. ;) (It had absolutely nothing to do with those shirtless scenes...)

Edited at 2012-06-22 07:27 pm (UTC)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 23rd, 2012 03:24 am (UTC) (Link Me)
He seems like someone who can't always think for himself (due to his father's overbearing ways) except on the tennis court

I like this notion a lot. Given that he was groomed to be a star athlete by an overbearing parent, he probably didn't manage much of anything in his own life until his father was suddenly out of the picture. And from what we're told, he's now a restauranteur, and he owns vineyards... all of which presumably happened since he met Chloe because he was at his last Wimbledon when they met. It would be great if the film gave us more about how this headstrong streak of hers - going to England on her own, making her own way because she's got no one now to rely on - is something she was able to share with him, that he could draw that strength from her and not only become self-reliant but hugely successful in ways that have not a damn thing to do with tennis.

Physha1 From: Physha1 Date: June 28th, 2012 12:20 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I felt that the lack of fleshing out their attraction led to her seeming EXTREMELY unlikeable, and left me wondering what he saw in her at all other than her beauty. She was mean, unforgiving and immature, on top of the presenting problem of her major lie. What's to like? This coupled with his altogether likability led to an underlying unbelievability of their entire relationship. Yes, the movie was about the two dads, but the marriage/wedding needed to be a stronger point from which the movie was scaffolded.

All other aspects of the movie, most of which were already commented on, I found fun and entertaining. I laughed out loud numerous times, especially by chef dad. I loved how he bonded so easily with Stephen. They were much more adorable together than the romantic couple was.

Jamie's performance was as I would have expected. "The shirtless scenes were gifts, there is no other explanation for it!" YES! This is what the pause and rewind buttons were made for.
onlyariana From: onlyariana Date: June 22nd, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I've gotta say I really enjoyed this movie. The dads were an adorable odd couple. Both of them so bumbling in their different ways. I LOVED the Mongolian proverbs. My 12 year old has been randomly cracking up the last week or so and it's because he's thinking of "If you tie your lunch to a tiger's tail, don't expect to eat often." I loved how effortlessly Stephen and Gustave connected. I guess the moral is - don't lie to your fiance. And also about how you can't choose your family.

I might have to watch it again. Visual gags and facial expressions are hard to catch when you're reading the subtitles.

I will say that I think the writer had some negative views on male/female relationships. There was Bernard's wife who hid his daughter's letters, Barbara who lied to Gustave about Chloe's paternity, the best friend who wanted a man who was a number one, and Chloe who lied.
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 23rd, 2012 03:27 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I will say that I think the writer had some negative views on male/female relationships.

There are two writers. Both male. (One is Martin Valente, the director.) It's possible, and the fact that we're talking so much about how Chloe and Stephen's relationship could have been a) better developed and b) presented in a more romantic way doesn't help their case. Then again, they could just need a lot of practice at writing women. Not all male writers have this problem, lots are terrific at it. But many... aren't. ;)
asta77 From: asta77 Date: June 26th, 2012 11:57 am (UTC) (Link Me)
I found it strange Bernard's wife hid (and kept) the letters. The only thing I could come up with is they didn't have a strong marriage and she feared he'd leave her or try and make the child part of their lives and she did not want that.

I found what Gus's wife did more troubling. Yes, Gus was a lousy husband and often absentee father, but telling your daughter that she has another father out there who was a better man and would have made her life better seems extremely hurtful, damaging, cruel and selfish. I'm rather shocked Olivia wasn't more screwed up.

Edited at 2012-06-26 11:57 am (UTC)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 27th, 2012 02:14 am (UTC) (Link Me)
Agree with both. In Bernard's case, I think you've hit the nail on the head; you could even make that kind of behavior more sympathetic if perhaps Bernard explained to someone that his wife knew he wasn't happy in England and he was only there because he loved her. i.e. she didn't do it out of spite, but because she was genuinely afraid of losing him. And he could regret having never really assured her otherwise. Again, this is something that just a teeny bit more dialogue could help with IMMENSELY. (The bits with the translator are funny, but they don't add anything to the story - trim one and give us more character detail instead! Sorted. ;) )

Same goes for Chloe's mother; why can't we have a moment where Chloe doesn't excuse her mother's behavior, but tries to give Gus some context? Context is EVERYTHING.
anamarya From: anamarya Date: June 23rd, 2012 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I'll have to agree with pretty much everything that you said here and not only because of the nice screencaps that you inserted. Btw, they are lovely.

I watched the movie in French without subtitles and I ws surprised to realize that I actually understood 95% of what was said. So, apparently my French is not as bad as I thought. Still bad but not horribly so.

Now, about the movie... it came out to me as a comedy but really not a romantic comedy. More like a family comedy (if that exists). I liked he two dads and how different they are and I wanted to strangle Chloe's friend most of the time. well, I had feeling like that for Chloe too but not as often.

I'll not comment on the whole shirtless thing because imho as long as we are all happy with the result of those scenes it's not really important that they weren't really necessary for the plot. But I will subscribe to this I'm still damned happy Jamie finally did a comedy and even add that he did it pretty well. I really enjoyed his character and I hope that he will get to explore this kind of a role again soon.

zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 24th, 2012 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I watched the movie in French without subtitles and I ws surprised to realize that I actually understood 95% of what was said.

I understood enough of it to catch variations in the subtitles that aren't precisely what's being said. (To a degree, 'course, this is always necessary - when Chloe forgets to tu-toi Bernard as though he were her father, they express the gist of it in the subs despite the fact that such a grammatical slip-up doesn't exist in English. ;) )

anamarya From: anamarya Date: June 25th, 2012 12:32 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
This is actually an interesting thing. I should rewatch it sometime with subtitles to see if I missed some of this nuances, variations. That part about Chloe forgetting to tu-toi Bernard was very funny for me since I usually do the opposite with some of the older professors in my department and always the native english speakers don't understand what the fuss is about.
anteros_lmc From: anteros_lmc Date: June 23rd, 2012 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
I haven't seen the film, and because I am utterly useless at getting round to watching films, I am unlikely to see it any time soon, so I really appreciate your entertaining review. And it was no hardship to flick through the screencaps. In fact I spent a very happy afternoon enjoying them ;)
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 24th, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
You're most welcome ma'am. ;) (Despite a few criticisms here and there, do track it down at some point. It's worth it!)
asta77 From: asta77 Date: June 26th, 2012 11:51 am (UTC) (Link Me)
You covered a lot of what we discussed. :) The film surprised me in many good ways. It was much more enjoyable than I anticipated and it's a movie I could easily watch again (even if the awesome, gratuitous shirtless scenes were not included ;). And while we know Jamie would get to show off his comedic talents, he and the film far exceeded my expectations. We've all discussed our concerns with David E Kelly being at the helm of Monday Mornings, but now part of me is really looking forward to how Jamie will handle any potential wackiness. :)

One of my favorite non-Jamie bits in the movie was Bernard's use of a translator.....even though he's lived in the UK for thirty years. This is a man very much use to things being done his way. It made me wonder if he would have been prepared for the reality a raising a child. As a recent widower with no immediate family, it's understandable he's looking back with regret. But is it easier for him to deal with an adult child?

I agree with your issues with the actor originally hired to play Chloe's father, but I was equally disturbed by Bernard's actions. The guy could have been killed. It just seemed so out of place in the film. There had to be another way to get rid of him.

Once we learned Gus new about Bernard for, well, ever I was surprised he didn't put two and two together early on. Yes, Bernard isn't exactly an uncommon name, but given the situation and Bernard's behavior, I would buy Gus making the connection. Especially when we see Chloe connect the new menu plus medication together with her father within seconds.

Stephen and Gus bonding was a highlight of the film for me. Stephen had a horrible relationship with his own father, believed he was failing miserably at connecting with his future father-in-law and, suddenly, in a few moments time, he's finding the relationship with a father figure he's longed for.

The film was supposed to be more of a 'buddy comedy' with the two men coming to terms with each other and their place in Chloe's life. At the same time, it sets a backdrop for Stephen and Chloe's issues – longing for a father/child relationship they never had. (This possibly being one reason they were drawn to each other. I know sharing issues with my family has brought me closer to people. ;) AND if I recall correctly, Stephen is loosely based on Andre Agassi and both he and his wife Steffi Graf shared difficult relationships with their fathers.) Yet I still wanted more of the love story and see why Chloe and Stephen were in love. Not being sure of how the two arrived at the point of marriage, coupled with Chloe's perfect wedding obsession (to the point of hiring an actor to play her father), led me to spend most of the movie going, “SHE'S NOT WORTHY OF YOU, STEPHEN!"

At one point, I thought perhaps the film was going for Cinderella angle. Stephen meets her at a ball, they part that night, she turns up at his match the next day, he spots her in the stands.....but that idea got dropped. :/

Like you, the age difference in and of itself isn't a huge problem for me (Though I didn't buy Olivia being 25. 28 or 29 Maybe. And Jamie could have played a few years younger than his age.). But given the lack of a strong reason for the two being together it became a bigger problem. If it was their painful histories that drew them together initially, then at least have them say it. Another way to show a connection was to give give Chloe a strong musical background since Olivia is a singer and she's encouraging Stephen to take up the clarinet again, which was an early passion of his.

One final random thought: If Marilyn's hand print was really on the glass, there would have been a second piece of glass over it! Sorry, the former framer in me was REALLY bugged by that. ;p
anamarya From: anamarya Date: June 26th, 2012 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link Me)
There had to be another way to get rid of him.

maybe like finding him another job?

If Marilyn's hand print was really on the glass, there would have been a second piece of glass over it! Sorry, the former framer in me was REALLY bugged by that. ;p

LOL. i was thinking in terms of how they could prove that the print was hers but your point is really interesting (and true).
zegeekgirl From: zegeekgirl Date: June 27th, 2012 02:27 am (UTC) (Link Me)
David E Kelly being at the helm of Monday Mornings, but now part of me is really looking forward to how Jamie will handle any potential wackiness. :)

Oh, I can see the show successfully avoiding the over-the-top level of DEKisms and yet still finding some room for humor that would give Jamie a chance to flex those chops. ;) Will be disappointed too if it doesn't.

It just seemed so out of place in the film. There had to be another way to get rid of him.

The more I think about it, the more that entire scene does feel out of place. They were in a cafe, couldn't he have ordered something and not realized it had something in it he was allergic to, forcing Bernard and Gus to rush him to the hospital and conveniently take his place then? Done and done. ;) (Or maybe he just has a sudden heart attack. There are options!)

AND if I recall correctly, Stephen is loosely based on Andre Agassi and both he and his wife Steffi Graf shared difficult relationships with their fathers.

Aha, that would make sense. ;) I had a feeling you'd feel the same way about that. And like I noted when we were chatting with charlsie_esq before - the film isn't that long. They could have easily cut a couple of minutes of montaging early on and added five minutes of strong character development. When Bernard asks to know how they met, why not give Chloe a couple of extra lines in which she owns up to having started out with stars in her eyes because no one like him had ever paid her attention like that before. Yet the more she got to know him, she realized that having a meaningful relationship was more important to him than all the money and fame because he never had that from his father. She obviously knew a bit herself about being let down by a parent, and at that point in her eyes he became just Stephen and not OMG STEPHEN ASTARTI, and then she fell in love and I'M RE-WRITING THE SCRIPT NOW, STOP ME. ;)

Another way to show a connection was to give give Chloe a strong musical background since Olivia is a singer

I really like this idea, personally. The thing is, I wonder if Valente & co. would have deliberately avoided that because they would have wanted the character of Chloe to be independent of Olivia's persona as a performer. To our eyes, it wouldn't make much difference but she's such a big star over there, the French public might have had a harder time seeing her in a fictional role if she was singing, too. (I actually went so far as to wonder whether they deliberately styled her hair-up because IRL, Olivia always wears her hair loose. That's kind of her "look"; in this her hair's almost always pinned up or back!)
17 comments or Leave a comment