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The First Day of the Rest of Your Life (DVD)

'A hilarious, heart-warming and...thought provoking film'

Disc Specs

Starring Jacques GamblinZabou BreitmanDeborah FrancoisPio MarmaiMarc-Andre Gondrin Disc Cover
Directed By Remi Bezancon Certificate 18
Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Visuals 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Running Time 108 mins
UK Release Date March 22, 2010
Genre Drama
Our Rating
User Rating

Filmmaker Remi Bezancon turns in a triumph with his latest offering, which was a big hit in its native France; a comedy-drama charting 12 years in the lives of the Duval family. Over the course of the film we’re witness to five crucial days in the lives of Robert, Marie-Jeanne and their three children; Albert, Raphael and Fleur. At first glance these days seem as unimportant as any other, but their effects ripple on throughout the lives of the Duval family for years.

The comedy-drama is a genre riddled with pitfalls, but The First Day of the Rest of Your Life manages to avoid cliché and contrivance throughout. The humour is well observed, the set ups natural and the punchlines generally hilarious. The family itself is a well balanced and entirely believable ensemble. Certainly there’s conflicting personalities, but no single member seems reduced to a stereotype. Refreshingly, any dysfunction seems natural, never forced by spectacular set ups, instead steered gently by series’ of events courtesy of a well crafted script.

Likewise, the weightier strands to the story manage to steer clear of dreary melodrama, sometimes softening life’s sour notes with humour, but usually opting to simply not dwell on them. Game changing events in the characters’ lives don’t always seem profound, there’s no spotlight to signal the moment, but the consequences play out regardless. The director isn’t too proud to rely on the odd bit of familiar imagery to engage a response either. After eldest son Albert (Marmai) flies the nest, the sad sight of a vacant bedroom and the empty place at the dinner table immediately make us pine his absence along with the rest of his family.

Director Remi Bezancon engages us with his visuals throughout the film, sticking with bare bone techniques when nothing else is called for, but showing real creativity elsewhere. Usually these inspired moments come when we’re left alone with one of the central characters. When daughter Fleur (Francois) is about to lose her virginity, we’re treated to a thoughtful series of images as her childhood self looks on. Later, matriarch Marie-Jeanne (Breitman) discovers her emotionally distant daughter’s diary and regains her unrequited love for her daughter, expressed with some heart-warming and creative visuals.

All in all, The First Day of the Rest of Your Life stands as a very accomplished piece of filmmaking. Captained by a skilled writer/director who completely understands his craft and performed by a talent ensemble, the film is near perfect. It’s no great shock this picture met with such acclaim when it was released theatrically and this DVD release should ensure greater success.

Overall Verdict: A hilarious, heart-warming and sometimes thought provoking film; The First Day of the Rest of Your Life is a real gem.

Special Features:
Making of
Theatrical Trailer

Reviewer: David Steele

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