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Adulting short movie review


Written by: #AniaGauer


Quarter-life crisis is an amusing term. If the entirety of your years between 22-35 aren’t a total crisis anyway, are you even doing it right? Nevertheless, Marion, protagonist of Adulting (or Comme Des Grands) is jumping head-first into hers in true French fashion.

With her career at a crossroads and her relationship unfulfilling, Marion (Pauline Chalamet) decides she needs to get away from it all. As she walks half-naked across the German-French border, she stumbles by chance upon Maxime (Dylan Raffin), the now-grown kid she used to babysit. Despite their ten-year age gap, Marion decides to join Maxime’s teenage gang on a roadtrip in order to rediscover herself and reconnect with her youth. But as she finds herself drawn to the younger man; she begins to question her relationship with fiancé Lukas (Gunnar DeYoung).

Adulting is an enigmatic short about growing up and difficulties of leaving the carefree days of youth behind. What seems to promote itself as a romance is instead the personal journey of Marion. Her failing acting career, coupled with an unexpected marriage proposal triggers a soul-searching jaunt across the French border. Whilst Maxime and Lukas each play key roles, this is unquestionably her story – and it is welcome to see a usually male-centred plot outline inverted to the female perspective. It is Marion’s dream career that is being hindered by her boyfriend’s insistence on her presence at home. It is Marion who has the breakdown. And it is Marion who gets to enjoy the eye-candy of a younger, desirable paramour. The originality of the story makes it a welcome watch.

The film wisely chooses not to idealise any of its characters – none of whom come out of the events without guilt. Marion’s decision to run away with a younger man is a selfish one, and we get no sense she has tried to communicate her displeasure with Lukas. But to be fair, Lukas himself is lost so far up his own backside it’s easy to see why. Maxime is keen to offer a shoulder when it suits him, but is still young and foolish. It is an excellent representation of the difficulties of growing up, and how the mistakes we make in these years are riddled with complexity. Despite some morally questionable choices, audiences will still root for Marion and understand her situation.

The chemistry between Pauline Chalamet and Dylan Raffin is key to the film’s success. The pair bond over their history together, and the tension between them as they navigate the uncomfortable dynamic is powerful and intimate. The contrast with Lukas could not be more obvious, and this is essential for the audience’s sympathy with Marion’s actions. Chalamet herself brings her A-game to the role, and mixes guilt and excitement as she embarks on her adventure that is wrong morally, but essential personally.

Ania Gauer and Julien Gauthier’s direction invigorates the story – with cold and distant scenes at Lukas and Marion’s home replaced by warm and soulful cinematography when Maxime comes into the picture. The film reflecting Marion’s own emotional state in this manner further evidences that this is her story. The only slip on the director’s parts is a tired and stereotypical party scene that could have been lifted from a fifteen-year-old Skins episode. This sequence drags on far too long and clashes stylistically with the rest of the tightly-woven direction of the film.

But overall Adulting perfectly captures the emotional toil of growing up, and how commitment without personal satisfaction is a recipe for inner turmoil. Fine acting, directing and plot make this an enjoyable and relatable watch.



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