This French comedy/drama is very much aimed at women of a certain age, who will rightly lap it up. Those outside the target demographic, however, should also find plenty to enjoy in I Got Life!.
A stream of vignettes in the first half, including hysterical situational comedy and a witty yet melancholic running sight gag, provided ideal fodder for a well-edited and enticing trailer. Thankfully, there’s more to I Got Life! than just the jokes we’ve already seen, both in terms of comedy and character development. The sketchy comedy scenes do, however, take their time to grow together into a coherent narrative, and it sometimes feels like I Got Life! doesn’t have quite enough story to satisfy a feature-length runtime.
Still, frequent laughs provide the momentum the narrative lacks early on. Once Aurore’s relationships – especially those with her two daughters – are established, they bring an emotional heft that fittingly pays off the darker feelings behind the laughs.
A series of lengthy silent scenes set to music (not quite montages) initially feel like fluff to pad the runtime, yet develop into a considered motif and set up I Got Life!’s most moving sequence.
Though films about underrepresented groups should be welcomed with open arms, it is disappointing that Lenoir’s heroine and her screenplay are so invested in the romantic arc. Often it feels totally unnecessary and dispensable; Aurore’s relationships with her female friends and family are more convincingly portrayed, reaching levels of verve and vitality that the rather bland lover characters can’t hope to inspire.
I Got Life! never fails to be fun, yet Lenoir is also insightful – she really gets under the skin of her female characters, uncovering the fears and insecurities of aging. The insistence on romantic closure, however, damages both the film’s claims to subversion and its realism.
CAST: Agnès Jaoui, Thibault de Montalembert, Pascale Arbillot, Sarah Suco
DIRECTOR: Blandine Lenoir
WRITERS: Anne-Françoise Brillot, Benjamin Dupas, Jean-Luc Gaget, Agnès Jaoui, Blandine Lenoir, Océane Michel
SYNOPSIS: Aurore, separated from her husband, has just lost her job and been told that she is going to be a grandmother. She is slowly being pushed to the outskirts of society, but then she runs into the great love of her youth. What if now was the time to start over?