LE GRAND BAIN
October 9 – 2PM + 7:30PM
France, 2018 – Rated: 14A – 122 minutes
French with English subtitles
Directed by Gilles Lellouche
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Guillaume Canet, Virginie Efira
Bertrand (Mathieu Amalric, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, At Eternity’s Gate) is down and out. He’s been jobless for over two years, and his family and friends’ respect for him is starting to wane. Then fate deals him a new hand via a unique classified ad: members are needed for a new, all-male synchronized swimming team.
Arriving at the pool, Bertrand meets a host of characters in similar luckless situations: Laurent (Guillaume Canet, Non-Fiction) is a recent divorcee; Simon (Jean-Hugues Anglade) is a rock musician who never “made it”; and Thierry (Philippe Katerine, Let the Sunshine In) is a failing pool salesman. Even the team’s coaches, Delphine (Virginie Efira) and Amanda (Leïla Bekhti, Paris, je t’aime), have their own set of challenges to face. While synchronized swimming may appear an unusual option on the surface (pun intended), the sport’s precision-focused, cooperative nature turns out to be the perfect catalyst for this disparate group to come together and realize that obstacles, small and large, can be overcome.
Gilles Lellouche’s Le Grand Bain is a hilarious and touching tale about a group of people finding purpose when all looks to be lost. The balance of humour, drama, and spectacle (the climax is set at a tense world championship) is deftly handled, and the cast is superb. The film, which was nominated for 10 Césars — France’s equivalent of the Oscars — just might have you ready to dive into the water yourself. Get those swim goggles ready.
“A sure-footed crowd-pleaser with enough warmth and the committed talents of a stellar ensemble cast to fend off any sense of predictability.”
—Allan Hunter, Screen Daily