top of page

L'Innocent Cannes Film Review


Directed by: #LouisGarrel Written by: #LouisGarrel, #TanguyViel Starring: #LouisGarrel, #AnoukGrinberg Film Review by: Alex Matraxia


Louis Garrel and Roschdy Zem
L'innocent Poster

While it tries to play like a characterful crime-comedy, Louis Garrel’s feature L’Innocent is a saccharine misfire. An Oedipal comedy that’s empty of charm, especially when it tries to be so charming.

Abel (Louis Garrel) is dubious when his sixty-year old mother Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg) decides to remarry. With a snobbish sense of prejudgement, Abel disapproves, especially as his mother has fallen for Michel (Roschdy Zem), an ex-con. While trying to prove that his new step-dad’s still a crook, Abel finds himself sucked into a caviar-heist, which Michel is spearheading in order to fund Sylvie’s flower shop. These are the ingredients for a potentially brilliant farce, a comic-book misadventure where Step-Father and Son realise they’re not so different; all it takes is a ludicrous crime to bring them together.

Sadly, we have cliche after cliche, two-dimensional characters and a neediness to prove itself moving; this is comedy obliterated by schmaltz. Its romantic interludes (of course) take place in the aquarium where Abel works, and we have silhouettes kissing in front of school-trip backdrops.

Anouk Grinberg and Roschdy Zem are perhaps the highlight of the film; they do their best with the material, both wielding a mature sense of comedic timing, and they play their roles well. Their love is sincere, with the right touch of desperate. Louis Garrel does nothing apparently wrong in his performance as Abel, and yet the character feels wooden and disposable. Perhaps its intentional, but it weighs the story with unneeded awkwardness. The film reminded me of Judd Apatow's The King of Staten Island in the way both films focus on maladjusted man-children, trying to come to terms with their mother’s rekindled love-life. Pete Davidson’s Scotty wasn’t the most likeable character and yet we liked him. The film was working in synch with his personality. In L’Innocent, Abel feels like he’s getting in the way of a movie we’d rather see; something in the periphery like Sylvie and Michel’s romance.

I can admire Garrel’s film for what it wants to be: a feel-good film with a poignant resolution. And a few ironies along the way. But its structural ironies are so transparent, practically rubbed into your face, that it's hard not to resent them. L’Innocent is a film which strives for comedic unity, but delivers a forgettable faux-farce.


The UK Film Review Podcast - artwork

Listen to our
Film Podcast

Film Podcast Reviews

Get your
Film Reviewed

Video Film Reviews

Watch our
Film Reviews

bottom of page