Elizabeth Kübler-Ross proposed five stages of grief in her groundbreaking
1969 book
ON DEATH AND DYING. There are: denial and isolation, anger,
bargaining, depression, and acceptance. French filmmaker François Ozon
clearly shares a fascination with how human beings process those stages as
he demonstrates in his latest feature
Romain (the impossibly handsome Melvil Poupard) is a gay fashion photographer
who seems to have it all: a strong career, a devoted lover (Christian Sengewald),
and a family that loves him in spite of his petulance. During one of his
shoots, he collapses and is taken to the hospital where he learns that he
has a terminal disease. Immediately, he asks if it is AIDS, but the doctor
informs him that he has terminal cancer. So Romain begins the process
outlined by Dr. Kübler-Ross.

At dinner with his family, he picks a fight with his sister (Louise-Anne
Hippeau) who has just had a baby, exasperates his mother (Marie Rivière)
but strangely shares a quiet moment with his philandering father (Daniel
Duval). After getting high with his lover and having passionate sex, Romain
informs his boyfriend that he wants to end the relationship. He then leaves
the city and visits his grandmother (Jeanne Moreau) who is the only person
to whom he confides his condition.

On the way to and from his grandmother's home, Romain has a strange
encounter with a waitress (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi), who makes a strange
request: she asks Romain to impregnate her with the consent of her infertile
husband. Although he initially refuses, Romain reconsiders and agrees,
provided her husband join them in bed. The result is a tender threesome
that doesn't titillate but seems quite natural.

As with nearly all of Ozon's work, the seashore plays a large role and
the film both opens and ends at the beach. Along the way, Romain has
negotiated the various stages of grief and had reached a place of acceptance.
Poupaud is nothing short of phenomenal in the part, maintaining the character's
integrity and not downplaying his shortcomings or his faults. Romain is not
always a likable person, but he proves to be one with whom the audience
can empathize.

              Rating:                B +
              MPAA rating:        NONE
              Running time:      85 mins.

              Viewed at Magno Review Two
Time to Leave
(Le Temps qui reste)
©  2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.