Les Souvenirs (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama
Director: Jean-Paul Rouve
Distributor: Cinéart
Duration: 95 minutes

Les Souvenirs (DVD) – Movie Review

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Good: Relatable story, Acting performances
Bad: Long introduction
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In life, we go through many struggles and difficulties. Even though we often feel like we are the only ones having these issues, we are not. In Les Souvenirs, a film based on the novel by David Foenkinos this gets clear, as we see the life struggles of three generations. All in their own phase of life, yet all so recognizable, they try to make the right decisions. But what feels right for one, might not feel so right for another.

Les Souvenirs

Madeleine (Annie Cordy) is 85 years old, and has only just lost her husband, when she makes a fall at home and ends up in hospital. Her son Michel (Michel Blanc) is afraid that she might not be fit enough anymore to live on her own, and he says as much to his brothers and his son Romain (Mathieu Spinosi). While his brothers tend to agree, and decide to tell her so, Romain is against the idea and believes that his grandmother is perfectly capable of living on her own and will not want to leave her apartment. Nonetheless, Michel and his brothers decide that she would be better off in a home, and arrange a room for her in a very fancy one, even though Madeleine perfectly recovered and is more lively than ever.

In the meantime, Michel is going through a rough time, even though he wouldn’t admit it. He only just retired, and doesn’t really know what to do now that he’s home. He is overprotective towards his mother, can’t seem to please his wife, and overreacts in every situation. His son is the total opposite, taking everything more as it comes. He studies while making money as a night porter at a hotel. Whenever he can, he visits his grandmother and does exciting things with her, something she absolutely loves. She feels like he knows her better than her own sons do.

One morning, Michel rushes into Romain’s room, completely wound up. His mother is missing from the home, and he simply doesn’t know what to do next. When Romain receives a postcard from her, he has an idea of where she might be going, and goes on a quest to find her.


In contrast to what the trailer of the film makes us believe, the film focuses more on the events that happen before Madeleine runs off, rather than on Romain’s search to find her. Her running off happens quite late in the film which, also due to the expectations that are risen after seeing the trailer, makes the story seem to move rather slowly. Nonetheless, many things are happening, though more focusing on the changes in Michel’s life and that of Romain. Later we also see how Madeleine copes with her new way of living, thus we get treated to a quite elaborate introduction leading up to the main event of the film, Madeleine’s escape. This introduction starts quite slowly, but once every character is introduced shortly, things start to get a tad more interesting when we get an insight into the changes in everybody’s lives. Even though this might all sound like it could have been shorter, it is nice to see that Jean-Paul Rouve took his time, as it makes to rest of the story much richer.

The relationships and situations of the different characters are relatable to all generations, since father, son as well as grandmother take the lead. The one trying to find his place in the world, the other coping with his retirement and the latter being left no choice to decide for herself any more, they all have their problems, and so we do too. Even though the subject of this movie is not the happiest one, there are many funny notes to liven up the atmosphere, making this film airy, yet meaningful.

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The actors all did a superb job, whether they be twenty-five or eighty-seven, or somewhere in between. Annie Cordy makes quite the impression playing such a youthful grandmother at such an age. Also Michel Blanc is fun to watch as the tormented Michel, who only wants to do good, and by trying to do so, turns everyone against him. Jean-Paul Rouve plays a minor role, and a quite funny one too, next to being the director.

The extras include an elaborate interview with Jean-Paul Rouve and David Foenkinos, the writer of the book the film was based on. Certainly for people who have read the book, this is a nice addition. Other than that, there are some deleted scenes to enjoy, albeit without subtitles, and also the trailer is included.


Les Souvenirs is a film that tackles many different difficulties in life, such as the care of an old parent, the gap after retiring, or starting a life of your own. This makes the film very relatable to most people, and the funny, yet serious way in which the story is presented makes it very interesting and enjoyable to watch, even though it takes a while before the real ‘action’ kicks in. Other than that, the acting performances make well up for that, thus leaving you with quite a good film to enjoy.

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