I’m sure that I probably picked Des vents contraires (Against the Wind) because Audrey Tautou is also in this film. This is not a romantic movie though, and somehow deals with loss and death as well.
The story is about an author, Paul Anderen (Benoît Magimel) in the middle of a writer’s block. Dealing with a tired and frustrated wife, Sarah (Audrey Tautou), and two children, his life was rocked when Sarah suddenly disappeared. Not coping with her disappearance, he left Paris with his children to his hometown, Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast. His older brother Alex (Antoine Duléry) gives him a job as a driving instructor although he doesn’t have an instructor’s license. Alex graciously accepts his brother back although Paul hasn’t set foot in his hometown since 2002 when he ‘abandoned’ him and his father. As he learns to live his life again, Paul continues to struggle and makes a series of misjudgment. Then, he receives a phone-call regarding his wife …
Jalil Lespert, the director, wonderfully tells a poignant story about a man who is ill-equipped in dealing with the loss of his wife, having to raise two children on his own. He also has to deal with the past, of being the prodigal son – only this time the father has passed away and with an older brother who still carries some bitterness. I was tempted to score the movie down because Paul is such an anti-hero. He had sex with his driving student, lied to the police and just pretty much acted like a numbskull half of the movie. However, I realise that it would be silly of me to give a lower mark just because the main character makes mistakes. Paul is just one of us – who tries to do his best and still stumbles from time to time. Magimel plays Paul very well, as a man struggling with life and with his judgments (By the way, I can’t help thinking that Magimel looks very much like Josh Lawson, an Australian actor). As a matter of fact, Tautou only plays in several scenes, as a matter of fact but I still enjoy the movie nevertheless.
Des vents contraires is a wonderful journey of love, loss and grief – and growing up as a man.