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Look at Me

  Look at Me
"That one makes you look fat, too."

© 2004, Sony Pictures Classics
All Rights Reserved

Last year's Best Screenplay Winner at the Cannes Film Festival, "Look at Me" ("Comme une Image," IMDb listing) is Agnes Jaoui's new family comedy/drama that loosely revolves around a girl with low self-esteem, Lolita (Marilou Berry), who searches for means to express herself and gain respect and sympathy, especially from her famous writer/publisher father Etienne Cassard (Jean-Pierre Bacri, husband of Jaoui as well as the co-writer for this film).

Somewhat unlucky in physical appearance and neglected by her pompous father, Lolita seeks escape by singing in a choir. She despises her father's young, pretty wife, Karine (Virginie Desarnauts), and believes everyone who reaches out to her is essentially after her father. Notwithstanding Karine's endless attempts at peace, Lolita remains distant to her, while her father, Etienne consistently avoids her.

Her music teacher, Sylvia (Agnes Jaoui), also starts being interested in Lolita because of her father, though she ends up being a likable and affectionate character. Married to an aspiring but unknown writer, Pierre (Laurent Grevill), Sylvia befriends Lolita in order to help out her husband. Meanwhile, among her constant badgering about life, her neglecting father and all else, Lolita meets Sebastien (Keine Bouhiza), one of the rare few who doesn't care about her father's fame. Lolita never ceases to be bothered by the people around her, and none of the remaining characters truly change for the better at the end. Yet, that is what makes the film realistic. Just as in real life, instead of a picture-perfect ending, there is one with compromises and unanswered questions.

"Look at Me" is a slice of dysfunctional life. It is neither an example of cinematic brilliance nor does it bear an ensemble of inspiring characters, even so, it portrays believable characters with a genuine screenplay. The pace of the film feels drab at times, but the assortment of characters and their diverse vibes balances this out.

The factual and objective viewpoint of the film allows the audience to watch without being influenced. Just as in real life, each character has their flaws. Whether this takes away from or adds to the narrative is a whole different story. The impartial role of the camera makes the storytelling genuine, even though the simplicity and the realness of the characters might seem routine.

One thing is clear: there are no climactic peaks in this film, there are only peek-holes to "look at" the life of a dysfunctional group of individuals.

Filmfodder Grade: B-








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