For her first feature film, Monia Chokri offers an intelligent, incisive, relevant and frankly moving drama.
For her first feature film, Monia Chokri offers an intelligent, incisive, relevant and frankly moving drama. She explores a subject – the unique and merging relationship between a brother and a sister – that is not very well developed in the cinema, both here and elsewhere in the world, and that reaches right to the heart of viewers of all origins.
The opening sequence, both hilarious and fundamentally frank, sets the tone for the entire production. Professors are gathered in a classroom to judge the particularly advanced doctoral thesis of the protagonist, Sofia. The group of actors, including Marie Brassard and Paul Savoie, is delectable in their role as unjustly intransigent supervisors. Only for this scene, beautifully played and written, the film is worth the visit. We also note several other highlights in the comedy, especially this sequence of double dialogue while the brother and sister fight fiercely at the family residence as well as this well-watered feast when Sofia notes her decline.
Monia Chokri’s volubile writing is certainly one of the strengths of her first film. The young filmmaker proposes talkative texts that overwhelm us. As the characters express themselves with a lot of verve, the silences that dot the production are all the more eloquent. The interstices, often musical, confer a particular personality on the work. They could, however, have been slightly shortened in some places, in order to make the proposal, which sometimes falls too abruptly into poetry, more accessible. Moreover, the last scene darkens in a lyrical romanticism that annoys, despite the obvious quality of its realization.
Actress Anne-Élisabeth Bossé carries the film on her shoulders with great agility. She shines in the role of this woman in her mid-thirties who, despite her high level of education, cannot find a job. The chemistry she developed with Patrick Hivon, who plays her brother, transcends the screen. The public immediately believes in the affection these two alter egos share. Actress Evelyne Brochu also proves to be particularly surprising under the features of this elegant woman who frequents Sofia’s brother. Sweet, understanding, kind and accomplished, she deeply disturbs the protagonist who does not appreciate her annoying perfection. Micheline Bernard, Magalie Lépine-Blondeau, Mani Soleymanlou and the entire distribution are also surprising. There were no missteps in the choice of actors, all are convincing and credible. It must be said that Monia Chokri, an actress herself, directs her actors competently.
Although the first half is stronger than the second half, My Brother’s Wife is more than deserving of her recent Cannes award. Best Quebec film of the year so far, Monia Chokri’s first feature will cheer you up and move you.A work not to be missed!