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2. Amanda; movie review

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Title : 2. Amanda; movie review
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Cert 15
107 mins
BBFC advice: Contains brief bloody images, sexualised nudity

Do you remember when everyone made the Tricolour part of their social media profile?
This was done in empathy with the French people following the attacks on the staff of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine.
It was an instant reaction to a terrible event but, if we are honest, how much have we thought about the victims since that early outpouring?
Film director Mikhaël Hers prompted that thought with his movie Amanda which handles the aftermath of a national catastrophe such as the 2015 killings at Charlie Hebdo or those later in the year at the Bataclan and in central Paris.
Amanda, rather than be distracted by real events, centres on a similar but fictional tragedy.
Its lead is Vincent Lacoste who plays David, a 24-year-old who has an easygoing life in Paris, working as a go-between for a landlord and his many tenants while also cutting down trees in public parks.
Actually, mostly, he enjoys the company of his sister (Ophelia Kolb), her seven-year-old daughter (Isaure Multrier) and friends with the beautiful backdrop of the French capital.
But his serene life is shattered when terrorists strike and his sister is killed.
After the immediate devastation, David finds himself making the leap from occasional babysitter to the full-time guardian of young Amanda.
This is the dire reality of the fall-out on families of victims of such attacks.
David's situation is made even worse because his father died three years previously and he and his sister have been long estranged from their mother (Greta Scaachi).
But Amanda understands none of this background. She just wants to know what has happened to her mum and how life can return to normal.
The director has gone down an interesting route with this film and both Mrs W and I felt for David and Amanda. 
Indeed, he rightly offers no easy solutions to a child suddenly having their only parent taken away.
But I felt that we should have been reaching for the hankies and, to be perfectly honest, we weren't.
The first problem arrives at the tragedy itself. It is passed over way too quickly.
Also, without wanting to be too harsh, we felt that Multrier's reactions were a bit stilted. 
When she makes demands they don't feel as intransigent as a seven-year-old can be and when she expresses love it doesn't have the expected passion of a young child.
We also struggled with the movie's ending. It is so strange that we felt we must have missed a big explainer.
Overall the concept of Amanda was certainly worth exploring but it should have grabbed more than it did.

Reasons to watch: Intriguing take on the fall-out of a national tragedy
Reasons to avoid: Doesn't grab quite as much as it should

Laughs: None

Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: Very briefly
Overall rating: 6/10

Did you know? In the Paris terrorist attacks of 2015, 130 people were killed including 90 at the Bataclan theatre. One traumatised survivor committed suicide in November 2017, two years after the atrocity and was recognized as 131st victim.

The final word. Mikhaël Hers: "I wanted to make a film which, despite this starting point [the attack], remained very luminous, and not make something that was devoid of hope or gloomy." Seventh Row

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