Mon héroïne

Mon héroïne
Original title:Mon héroïne
Director:Noémie Lefort
Running time:108 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
Since she was a young girl, Alex has only dreamed of one thing: making films. But in Rouen, her daily life is far from the Hollywood glamour. Overprotected by her mother Mathilde, she hopes to enter a prestigious film school in New York. Unfortunately, everything doesn't go as planned and her dreams are brutally shattered. Refusing to accept her fate, Alex decides to leave for the Big Apple with the help of her eccentric aunt Juliette for a crazy project: to give her script to Julia Roberts. Quickly joined by Mathilde, this New York adventure will mark for the three women the beginning of a new stage in their lives and bring them closer than ever.

Mulder's Review

"Twenty years ago, when I was a film student in Rouen, the city where I grew up, I made a short film: Calling Julia Roberts, which told the story of a young girl who wanted to give her script to the American star. The reality exceeded the fiction because I went on a whim to New York to give my short to Julia Roberts. This story was the starting point for the writing of My Heroine. I went back to the images of my trip to New York in 2001. I was struck by the recklessness, the energy, the tenacity of my 20s, that feeling that anything was possible. I wanted to tell the story of a young woman who believes in her dreams and goes all the way. I also wanted to explore the theme of the passage to adulthood, a universal subject, and the preponderant place of our loved ones in this key transition period in our lives. This project is my childhood dream. And like Alex in the film, I left with a short film for Julia... and I came back with a film for myself. Dreaming is like breathing, it's vital. And in Normand, nothing is impossible!" Noemie Lefort

While French cinema tends to move towards either auteur cinema or pale copies of American mainstream films or even mainstream films that are hardly memorable, it is good to discover films that have a real soul and that have been carefully created to deliver a universal story about continuing to believe in your dreams.  The great difficulty of a first film is to know how to find the right musicality to succeed not only in convincing a large audience but also to allow new directors to be noticed. Noemie Lefort is undeniably a very talented young writer and director, and her passion for cinema is continuously felt in her first feature film. 

It is not a coincidence that her screenplay, co-written with Fadette Drouard, is based on her own story and especially on a short film (Calling Julia Roberts) that she made during her studies in film in the beautiful city of Rouen, Normandy. In the same way, we feel in her first film a real desire to take care of her script as well as her direction and especially to surround herself with an excellent intergenerational team of actresses, all of whom are perfect, whether it be the young Chloé Jouannet, Pascale Arbillot or Brigitte Fossey (in a few short sequences), but also numerous supporting roles such as Louise Coldefy, Firmine Richard. However, the actors seem to be relegated to simple appearances, whether it is Fred Testot in a very successful comedy scene and also Chris Marques (also choreographer of the film).

 The great care given to the casting is also felt on the numerous songs of the film composed of covers and interpreted by the group Pur-sang. The director Noemie Lefort knows how to surround herself perfectly and above all shows here a real maturity in her direction and has managed to compose one of the best feel good movies of the year which really makes you want to see Pretty Woman again but especially Notting Hill. The many references to Julia Roberts' films scattered throughout the film seem to be intended for film lovers who will find pleasure in recognizing them.

The title of the film My Heroine could make you think of a tribute to Julia Roberts but it is not intended for her as you will understand when you discover this film which makes you want to laugh as much as to be moved by the fact that time never stops and that we never say enough that we love them as well as our parents or the one who makes our heart beat. In the same way this film does not want to follow the path of its many dramatic comedies made of preconceived ideas and playing on stereotypes without consistency. We will also appreciate to see the look made of emotions and love to the cities of Rouen and New York. Even if their architectures differ, they testify to the effervescence of talent of all kinds that inhabit them. Of course, one suspects that the film's script is not a simple reflection of real events and cleverly mixes the real and the fictional to make it more cinematic.

The first great quality of My Heroine is to find the imagery of the great comedies of the 80s and we discover from the beginning of the film the past of the young Alex Troffel (Chloe Jouannet perfect in her role bringing her grace and fragility to her character) who dreams of becoming a director and who was raised by a divorced mother. Alex seems to have more affinity with his mother's sister Juliette (Louise Coldefy) than with her. To realize his dream, Axel leaves for New York with Juliette in order to give his script to Julia Roberts via her production company. Things do not go totally as planned but give rise to a captivating film whose end will remind The Player (1992) of Robert Altman. It comes out a film that gives us to think about the impact of cinema in our daily lives, to our dreams of cinephiles remained vain but especially shows us that we must know how to fight, work hard and have a little luck to be recognized.

Music and dance also play a central role here, not only as a strong family bond but also as a means of exorcising one's inner demons and freeing oneself from a heavy tension. One suspects that director Noemie Lefort is an avid fan of musicals, and the poster for La La Land in Alex's room and certain passages in the film are also nods to the director's favorite films.

Surely while many French films seen recently despite their many qualities have not managed to totally convince us, this first film was one of our best surprises of the year and above all imposes Noemie Lefort as a young emerging director that we have not finished hearing about. A raw talent whose next films we can't wait to see.

Mon héroïne
Directed by Noemie Lefort
Produced by Matthieu Zeller, Matthieu Gondinet
Written by Noemie Lefort, Fadette Drouard
Starring Chloé Jouannet, Pascale Arbillot, Louise Coldefy, Brigitte Fossey, Firmine Richard, Chris Marques, Zoé Schellenberg, Tricia Merrick, Jean-François Cayrey, Frédéric Épaud, Astrid Roos , Diane Dassigny 
Music by Pur-Sang
Cinematography : Nathalie Durand
Edited by Riwanon Le Beller 
Production companies : Universal Pictures, Indy Films Production, Octopolis
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date : December 14, 2022 (France)
Running time : 108 minutes

Seen on December 14, 2022 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 14 seat A18

Mulder's Mark: