Other People's Children is a rom-com from Rebecca Zlotowski, a French writer and director, that will rekindle lost interests, peek into the minds of cynics, and convince Sundance supporters that childbirth does not have to be a pipe dream.
Virginie Efira, who plays Paul, is a vivacious actress who falls in love with her daughter Leila (Callie Ferreira-Gonvales) and ex-wife Alice (Chiara Mastroianni), who take it in turns to pick her up from judo.
Ali and Rebecca continue to fall in love thanks to their mutual interest in guitar.
Other People's Children will be a completely different experience for those who have never seen them before. There is no apparent meet-cute hookup, no unfavorable obstacle to happiness that feels fabricated, and ultimately no major reward for the emotional investment. Together Ali and Rachel are simply finding their way in love, while also coping with Leila's initial rejection without missing a beat.
Other People's Children gets under your skin and stays there. During their performances, Zem and Efira discuss the natural tendency of women to procreate, as well as addressing that more explicitly in a social sense. Ferreira Goncalves completes the ensemble by increasing the cute factor as Leila.
The understated conclusion of Other People's Children is so real that it may not be fictitious.
When it comes to heartache, it can be overwhelming for parents across the world who have had to make similar decisions. From the perspective of a single parent, if a prospective partner is rejected by their children, the relationship they feel is doomed to failure. Similar, if an emotional turmoil brings parents back together unexpectedly, those people must try again for the sake of their little ones.
This might not be ideal for film, or seem particularly dramatic for Hollywood purposes, but in the context of Other People's Children, it hits home hard. In the latter stages of conversations, there is a sense of maturity that reverberates far beyond the confines of this fictional world.
There is no sugar coating in this crucial moment between Virginie and her young charge as Rachel and Ali decides to break up. However, Leila is taught the truth from an adult who is trying her best to walk away clean from a person she still loves so dearly. There is no subtext, no subterfuge, and no audience manipulation in this moment.
Yame Couture as Rachel's sister Louana, as well as Michel Zlotowski, who plays both as patriarchs, offer some solid character contributions as well as sarcasm in spades to counterbalance any hint of romance that might otherwise overwhelm the narrative.
Other People's Children seeks to disrupt the system by following established storytelling conventions while intentionally layering them with more than a microchip of truth.
This Sundance entry merits all the attention it deserves: no tricks, no manipulation, and, most importantly, no need to over-egg the pudding.