WRITTEN BY: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
DIRECTED BY: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
STARRING: Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tahar Rahim
RATING: 3.5 stars
Samba (Omar Sy) moved from Senegal to France 10 years ago and has been quietly trying to blend in while working in low-paid jobs. Meanwhile, Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is a senior executive who has recently experienced a burnout and starts doing pro bono work helping immigrants in Paris apply for visas and jobs. When they meet, Alice is immediately struck by Samba and tries to help him get his working papers.
The fantastic team behind The Intouchables has given audiences another memorable French film. It is certainly a drama, but there is so much realistic humour thrown in too, which balances the story. While The Intouchables paired a lowly criminal with a rich paraplegic to draw some fascinating juxtapositions, Samba makes its own commentary about illegal immigrants and class issues. Gainsbourg brings a sensitivity and warmth to a character who is miserably messed up, while Sy has an imposing presence and appeal portraying a man trying to get ahead in life. Along the way, we meet a series of characters who show a different facet of immigrant life. Jonas (Isaka Sawadogo) is locked up but eager to find his hairdresser fiance Gracieuse (Sabine Pakora), while Wilson (Tahar Rahim) is the romantic charmer who just wants to have fun. But it is still the central story that is the most engaging. Directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano have produced a thought-provoking film with a lot of heart.