Movie-a-Day Challenge: Departure

departure movie posterThis post is part of my movie-a-day challenge in which I will watch a film every day for 365 days. Today is Day 243! You can see all the posts for this challenge HERE. To see the original Movie-a-Day Challenge post, click HERE.

Hey there, friends!

So, I recently curled up with a flick that honestly had more layers than my favorite winter sweater. I’m talking about the 2015 film “Departure,” directed by Andrew Steggall. And honestly? I’m left feeling kinda…bummed out. Like, seriously, someone pass me the metaphorical chocolate and a hug, because this movie was HEAVY.

Departure” is one of those films that packs an emotional punch, and not in the uplifting, spirit-lifting kind of way. It’s more like it leaves you with a heavy heart and a mind full of thoughts. The story unfolds in the lush, picturesque setting of the French countryside—sounds dreamy, right? But beneath that serene surface, there’s a whole storm of emotions brewing.

The film centers around Beatrice (played by the incredible Juliet Stevenson) and her introverted son, Elliot (a stellar performance by Alex Lawther), who are in France to pack up their holiday home for sale. But this isn’t just a cleaning-up gig; it’s more about unpacking their lives and the complexities of their relationships. Beatrice is grappling with the disintegration of her marriage, and Elliot is dealing with his own tumultuous feelings of first love and identity.

Enter Clément, a mysterious and handsome (of course!) French guy who sends Elliott’s world into a tailspin. Now, I’m all for a good dose of teenage angst and sexual awakening, but something about the whole thing just felt…off. Maybe it was the constant air of melancholy, or the way the French countryside looked strikingly beautiful yet strangely ominous at the same time.

Now, Alex Lawther? This kid is something else. You might remember him from “The Imitation Game,” where he played young Alan Turing. In “Departure,” he really dives deep into the emotional whirlpool of adolescence, capturing all the awkwardness and intensity of being a teenager in love and grappling with, well, everything.

And Juliet Stevenson, as the mom trying to hold it all together while her own world is falling apart, just brings it home with a performance that’s so raw and real, it’s like you’re sitting at their kitchen table, passing the salt while they sort out their lives.

But the story itself…oof. Without giving anything away (because, spoiler alert!), let’s just say it left me feeling like I’d been put through an emotional wringer. It tackles some really complex themes – grief, loss, identity, sexuality – and while I admire the film’s ambition, I can’t help but feel it missed the mark for me. It’s beautifully shot, the soundtrack is haunting, and the acting is superb, but the overall feeling I was left with was just plain sadness.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a beauty to the way the story unfolds, kind of like watching a storm roll in over a lake. It’s mesmerizing, in a way. The cinematography? Absolutely stunning. Every frame is like a painting, filled with these moody blues and greens that just suck you right into the scenery.

And let’s not forget the local boy, Clément, played by Phénix Brossard. He adds this intriguing layer of mystery and allure that perfectly complements the emotional landscape of the film. The dynamics between him and Elliot offer a fascinating exploration of young love and discovery.

However, I gotta say, the film does tread into some pretty grim territory. It’s a bit like sitting through a beautiful but incredibly sad poem. It makes you feel a lot, which can be a bit much if you’re not in the right headspace for it. So, maybe keep this one on the back burner for when you’re feeling introspective and ready to handle a bit of cinematic melancholy.

So yeah, “Departure” is definitely a film that will stay with me, but maybe not in a good way. It’s beautifully crafted and emotionally charged, but be warned: it’s not exactly a walk in the park.

Catch you on the flip side,

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