Sometimes, living your life requires rebirth.
Set in the heart of Paris, One Fine Morning tells the story of Sandra (Lea Seydoux), a young, single mother who finds herself torn between caring for her ailing father (Pascal Greggory) and raising her daughter. Grieving the death of her husband, Sandra spends her days working as a translator and fighting to help her father get the help he needs. However, things begin to change when she encounters Clement (Melvil Poupaud), an old friend of her husband?s. There has always been a spark between Clement and Sandra and, even though he?s married, the two begin a passionate affair.
Written and directed by Mia Hansen-Love, Morning is a film about healing the past while moving forward into the future. Though the film?s narrative takes its time, the beauty of Sandra?s renaissance is compelling enough to keep the viewer interested. Interestingly, Hansen-Love keeps the focus firmly on Sandra?s journey throughout the film. Rarely is there a scene that doesn?t feature her perspective on it. Although we spend time with her father, it is only through her eyes. Clement speaks about his marriage, yet we never get a window into what?s really going on in their home. Instead, Hansen-Love leaves the entire story to Sandra as she attempts to navigate her unbalanced world.
As such, the life-blood of the film is Seydoux?s performance. In every role she plays, Seydoux has a certain spark and Morning is not different. As Sandra, she offers a complex mixture of grief and joy in her performance that feels authentic. Sandra is a woman who has been drained by circumstances yet still yearns for some form of personal fulfillment. In this way, Seydoux creates a muted performance that gradually reveals the fire that burns underneath.
Of course, therein lies the deeper tension of Morning as well. Caught between parenting her child and (in some ways) her father, Mia?s word revolves around helping others. (In fact, even her job as a translator involves her relaying information to other people who cannot do so for themselves.) These family obligations have her torn between responsibilities, leaving little time for her to feed into her own soul.
This is the relationship that infuses life into Mia?s world (and, arguably, the film itself). Although he?s married, the opportunity to rediscover a piece of herself revives her spirit. In many ways, their relationship becomes an oasis as she is allowed to celebrate of her own needs. (Even so, it also goes without saying that a relationship with a married man comes with its own complications.) Even so, through her experiences, she begins to find a renewed passion for life, love and inner strength. For Sandra, this Fine Morning is ultimately about rebirth? and sometimes, that takes time to discover.
One Fine Morning is available in theatres on Friday, February 10th, 2023.