Directed by: Mia Hansen-Løve
Written by: Mia Hansen-Løve
Starring: Léa Seydoux, Pascal Greggory, Melvil Poupaud, Nicole Garcia, Fejria Deliba, Camille Leban Martins
Released: June 8, 2023
Grade: B+

One Fine Morning

Over the past 15 years, French director Mia Hansen-Løve has crafted an impressive, award-winning batch of films which highlight both the simplicity and complexity of the human condition.  She creates real, interesting characters and then puts them in tricky situations that audiences can relate and empathise with.  My two favourites are Father of My Children (2009), a drama about a middle-aged guy deep in debt trying to save his company, and Goodbye First Love (2011), the tale of two teenagers experiencing love for the first time.

One Fine Morning is Hansen-Løve’s latest and is centred on a widowed mother, Sandra (Seydoux), coming to grips with two major events in her life.  The first the declining health of her father, Georg (Greggory), who has reached the point where he needs round-the-clock care in a nursing home.  Involved in discussions with her mother (Garcia), Sandra has trouble finding a suitable, affordable aged facility that his worthy of her father’s final years.

The second happening involves romance.  Sandra becomes involved with Clément (Poupaud), an old friend grappling with a waning marriage.  The pair relish the time they spend together but, as things become more serious, Clément starts to have second thoughts.  He has a son of his own and he’s worried about the impact on that relationship if he were to split permanently from his current wife.

One Fine Morning is a nicely told yarn filled with reflective moments.  There’s a particularly powerful scene where Georg has moved into a nursing home and Sandra must decide what to do with all the belongings from his long-time apartment.  Her academic father had assembled a notable collection of books across his renowned career.  Is it appropriate to just throw them out?  The question taps into our connection with objects and the sentimental value they can hold.

In the lead role, Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour) encapsulates her character’s emotions with subtlety and precision.  She doesn’t need to verbalise every thought.  You know what she’s thinking and feeling.  Pascal Greggory is also great as the aging father who seldom complains (even if he wants to) so as not to be a burden on those around him.  It’s as if he’s a victim of his own politeness!

Released in Australia more that a year after it’s world premiere at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, One Fine Morning is another winner on Mia Hansen-Løve’s resume.