(Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas)

A masterfully constructed, well-directed feature, Philippe Loiret's latest, JE
, is "not a
thriller, but it revolves around a mystery" according to the press notes. That's
perhaps as good a description as possible. The story is a rather simple one:
nineteen year old Lili (rising star Mélanie Laurent) has returned from a
summer in Barcelona where she became fast friends with Mozambique-born
Léa (Aïssa Maïga). Upon her return, though, she discovers that her twin
brother Loïc has run off after a fight with their father (Kad Merad). Lili attempts
to question her parents to determine exactly what happened, but her father
remains mum and her mother (Isabelle Renaud) dismisses her. Lili becomes
frantic when she cannot reach her brother. She stops eating and eventually
collapses at university and has to be hospitalized. She continues to refuse to
eat and the harsh psychiatric treatments nearly kill her.

Lili manages to sneak out of her room and calls Léa who sneaks into the
hospital with her boyfriend Thomas (Julien Boisselier). Her friends try to
smuggle her out of the hospital, but Lili's insistence on having her cell phone --
so her brother can reach her -- causes them to be caught. One day, her
parents arrive with a letter for their daughter from Loïc. Gradually, she recovers
but Lili puts her life on hold, quitting school, working as a cashier, moving into
a small apartment of her own, all while waiting for her brother to return.

After a time, Lili finds a suitor in Thomas who also grew up near the area in
which her parents live (which is a pre-fab environment that Lili jokes could be
the set for

Loiret direction is taut and propels the action. Even though I more or less
figured out part of the "twist" of the film, I still was engrossed in the action,
thanks to the brilliant performances of Laurent, Merad, Renauld and Boisselier.
DON'T WORRY, I'M FINE is a strange but affecting movie. Perhaps in
hindsight, some of the characters' actions might not make complete sense,
but then sometimes in real life, people do surprising things. This film is a solid
and enthralling work.

© 2007 by C.E. Murphy.
All Rights Reserved.
L to R:  Mélanie Laurent as Lili and Julien Boisselier as Thomas
Don’t Worry, I’m Fine / Je vais bien ne t’en fais pas
Philippe Lioret, 2006; 86m
© Copyright Nord Ouest Production/Mars Distribution.