Apr 11, 2014

Review: Mon frère se marie (2006)

Mon frère se marie sounds like it could be the perfect American romantic comedy doesn't it? In English, the title would be something like "My Brother's Getting Married." Starring Vince Vaughn and Katherine Heigl. What the hell, let's throw in Dane Cook for support. Actually, Mon frère se marie did get remade and I had no idea until after having seen it. This American classic is none other than The Big Wedding, so hold onto your hats for when I review that title in the near future.

Mon frère se marie is not a comedy if you ask me, even though it's the only genre that IMDB lists. It's a straight drama. It's about Vinh of Vietnam who was seven years old when he was adopted by Michel and Claire, two Swiss residents. They also already had two children as well. Vinh continued to keep in contact with his mother despite his big move which was something that was actively encouraged. Over time, Michel and Claire divorced among a series of other family problems that developed.

Vinh is the one getting married in this story and wants to do so quietly given the delicate situation of his adoptive family. His birth mother however decides to visit and attend the wedding. She's traditional and a committed catholic, so it would be very disappointing for her to learn that Michel and Claire, the two people she entrusted her son with, were divorced. This creates the situation of the Depierrat family trying to pretend to be one big happy family for the sake of appearances.

 Although this does sounds like it could be amusing, it isn't in this case. There are definitely some very deep-rooted issues with this family and hiding them isn't easy at all. The acting is well done in this regard, especially in creating the awkward and tense atmosphere required. 

There are a few funny moments but Mon frère se marie isn't about trying to make you laugh. The pace is purposefully slow, letting pressure build up. The director Jean-Stéphane Bron only made documentaries prior to doing this film and you can see how that influenced him. Interspersed in Mon frère se marie are interviews with the characters set after the story is complete. To be honest I'm not convinced that these scenes were necessary because I don't feel like they add to the story. I think that the story would have come out stronger without the character interviews, but it's nice seeing something different.

This is a good drama, backed up by talented actors and filmed by someone who knows how to move a camera. I'm surprised that at the time of writing this, there are only 119 people who have rated Mon frère se marie on IMDb. It's an underwatched film that deserves better.

6.5/10

Related Reviews:

The Big Wedding (2013)