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Nothing is as strong as the wind of change…
Based on a best-selling novel by Olivier Adam (the cowriter of Philippe Lioret’s Welcome), AGAINST THE WIND (aka Headwinds) is a deeply moving French family drama with immense depth and heart.
One morning, Sarah (Audrey Tautou) vanishes, leaving her husband Paul (Little White Lies’ Benoit Magimel) and their young son and daughter reeling, without a word as to her whereabouts or a clue about when she will return. As time passes, Paul anxiously but tenderly tries to sustain some sense of normalcy and after a year, in an attempt to start over, he reluctantly returns to his coastal home town. There, he takes a job as a driving instructor, reunites with his estranged brother and befriends a local police officer (Isabelle Carré). But still he dreams of Sarah, refusing to let go. Why did she leave, and will she return?
Against the Wind Review
"Merde happens. That, essentially, is what Headwinds is all about. Based on a prize-winning novel by Olivier Adam, Des vents contraires, the film shows us what transpires when the doctor wife (Audrey Tautou) of a not particularly successful writer (Benoît Magimel) inexplicably disappears.
Although no longer suspected of murder by the police, Paul Anderen—now the bankrupt single father of two young children—stands in desperate need of closure. Thus, when his older brother Alex (Antoine Duléry) suggests that Paul return to his childhood town, move into their late father’s house, and join the family driving-school business, this de facto widower reluctantly agrees.
What makes Jalil Lespert’s debut feature so interesting is the sly way in which it drops contradictory hints as to what fate really had in store for Dr. Sarah Anderen. At one point, we are briefly led to suspect that we might be watching a Gallic remake of We Need to Talk About Kevin. Far more often, however, we are left to wonder about Alex’s actions and motivations, especially after he tries to help an ex-convict (Ramzy Bedia) who contravenes the law in order to see his son. Along the way, a local police detective (Isabelle Carré) serves as a sort of messenger from the gods, a sympathetic authority figure who tries to make sense out of what might ultimately be senseless.
Emotionally speaking, most of this movie occurs on the fault line that separates guilt from grief. A former actor himself, Lespert manages to coax fine, nuanced performances out of everyone. And even if there isn’t as much Tautou in this movie as worshippers might wish, the final denouement exudes enough genuine feeling to mollify even the most disappointed fan." Mark Harris
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