France’s low age of consent and wave after wave of abuse emanating from its artistic community are unavoidable in Spring Blossom. Director-writer-lead actor Suzanne Lindon wrote the film at 15, plays a 16-year-old, and is the daughter of French actors Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kiberlain. This story of a romantic spark between a schoolgirl and an actor in his mid-30s, while presented mostly without judgement, cannot be separated from the world in which Lindon’s family are part of.

What brings Lindon’s Suzanne and Arnaud Valois’s Raphaël together is boredom. She doesn’t relate to her peers, he’s uninspired performing the same lines every night with colleagues he shows no interest in. That their worlds are so far apart brings to mind Lost in Translation, where much of their connection is based in envy for what the other has. The trendy Montmartre setting and glorious Parisian sunshine help convey Suzanne’s spring blossoming, a time of excitement and rose-tinted potential.

That age gap is never sufficiently tackled, although the relationship is mercifully chaste. A number of dance sequences represent physicality and intimacy, and give the film an extra spark, but there’s a sense that Spring Blossom skirts around the big issue. Only once does Suzanne confront that she’s fallen for ‘an adult’, and yet that in itself isn’t the issue. It’s that it’s reciprocated and acted upon that is worthy of examination, particularly given the landscape in France. It may ultimately be to its credit that the film doesn’t tell you how to feel about something so obviously wrong, but in presenting it in such a safe and charming way, there’s a passivity in its execution.

Undoubtedly smart and socially conscious, and effective at pulling you into Suzanne’s smitten feelings, Spring Blossom is a good start for the young artist, but lacks thematic depth and bite.

RATING: 3/5


INFORMATION

CAST: Suzanne Lindon, Arnaud Valois

DIRECTOR: Suzanne Lindon

WRITER: Suzanne Lindon

SYNOPSIS: A bored schoolgirl meets an equally bored 30something actor as the two strike up a courtship.