Gilles Taurand have adapted their fine screenplay from the novel by Maylis De Karangal, and the resulting film is one of the more sympathetic to and empathetic of the human condition in memory. Yes, the movie skirts sentimentality now and again -- dealing as it does with life, death and death that brings life -- yet the filmmaker's choices are usually so specific and clear-headed that viewers are more likely to rejoice than to reject.
Gabin Verdet (above and below, left) who we are certain to see more of, so indelible is this young actor in a most unusual role. How Simon bonds with his girl is presented with enough beauty and joy that it's rather like experiencing your own first love all over again.
Anne Dorval, below) as a middle-aged mother with health problems, we don't initially know the connection. But again, so specific and intriguing are the characters in this second family, as well as what we continue learn about them, that we have no trouble hanging on.
Alice Taglioni, below, who seems to grow and expand as an actress with each new role) whose place in Claire's life we soon learn. We also meet Claire's two sons, one of whom she clearly favors to the detriment of the other. We also worry and grieve with Simon's parents, played affecting by Emmanuelle Seigner and Kool Shen (shown in photo at bottom).
Tahar Rahim, (below) explains to an organ donor what is happening. The movie is titled Heal the Living, yet this scene of quiet caring and concern for a corpse is so strange and moving that you may have trouble catching your breath and/or holding back tears.
Yes, this is one remarkable, memorable movie.
Cohen Media Group and running just 104 minutes, Heal the Living opens this Friday, April 14, in New York City at the newly renovated Quad Cinema, and in Los Angeles at Laemmle's Monica Film Center. Elsewhere? I hope so, but the Cohen web site for the film isn't so far giving us any clues.