Movie 39/50 La guerre est déclarée

La guerre est déclarée Valérie Donzelli          fiftyfiftyme category: Other

This is one film I can’t criticise. Other reviews have challenged some of the technical and artistic choices made by the film makers, but I feel that I must give it a free pass. I simply can’t imagine how stressful it must have been to live through the drama depicted in the film, and the courage required to share the experience with others outweighs any flaws.

That said, I personally didn’t find any serious flaws anyway. Some have said that it was a little too whimsical in places, with musical interludes that jarred, but I found the style of storytelling refreshing for its subject matter. The complete absence of twee sentimentality in recounting the years long struggle with their son’s brain tumour was refreshing, and made it possible to relate to the characters without being burdened by the sense of forced sadness.

I kept hoping for a fairy tale ending, but instead the film stuck with reality. The impact of their son’s illness on their relationship was documented candidly, and no doubt mirrors that of many couples in similar situations. The fact that they were able to work together to retell their story suggests that they have come to terms with it all, and the overall tone of the film is a near perfect mix of realistic and upbeat.

Watching this film reminded me of a cousin of mine, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour at about the same age as the boy in this film, endured a similar regimen of treatments and surgery over several years, and died at 18. Donzelli and Elkaim have done a great job of celebrating the small victories in the war they and their son fought, and for telling such an emotionally intense story with a smile and a song, I hope that their family wins against the odds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *