Declaration of War
Mercifully Short Review
by Jonathan Empson
Original title: La guerre est déclarée
A quirky and upbeat film about… cancer. Hmm. But before you switch off, this is based on a couple’s true story and stars the couple as versions of themselves. Bit weird, yes. French, obviously.
As Juliette (Valérie Donzelli, also the director/co-writer) takes her eight-year-old son Adam into a hospital appointment, she thinks back to meeting the father Roméo (Jérémie Elkaïm, also the co-writer). They had a whirlwind romance, had a son, then toddler Adam got a brain tumour.
The rest of the movie charts them dealing with it. They pay the financial and emotional price with a shrug, black humour and yet another cigarette.
The film avoids sentimentality but at the cost of real engagement with this likeable couple. Still, I suspect it will feel authentic to anyone enduring a similar experience.
Released May 31, 2012.
Jonathan Empson’s TV script Chrome was nominated for an AWGIE in 2010.
His recently completed historical drama-comedy feature Leonardo’s War is in circulation, and his black comedy-thriller Get Out of Here has been optioned.
He is represented by Rick Raftos Management.