TWO TICKETS TO GREECE

★★★

SETS SAIL WITH CLICHÉS ABOUND BUT REMAINS ON THE RIGHT TRACK WITH GREAT PERFORMANCES

BOXING DAY REVIEW
By Charlie David Page
23rd December 2023

We've all been there - the idyllic getaway that goes incredibly wrong. No international trip is quite the same without delayed (or cancelled) flights, horror hotel stories or running out of the local currency at the most inconvenient time - I've had my fair share of all those experiences. Yet what if you were embarking on that journey with a friend from school who was the polar opposite of you in every way, whom you hadn't spoken to in decades? Welcome to 'To Tickets to Greece'... but this is one journey you're going to want to be on board for.

Not-so-recently divorced Blandine (Olivia Côte, 'Antoinette in the Cévennes') is struggling with her ex-husband's upcoming wedding, so when her son Benjamin (Alexandre Desrousseaux, 'Do It Right') finds out about the teenage bond held between her and Magalie (Laure Calamy, 'The Origin of Evil'), he secretly decides to reunite the two... much to Blandine's dismay. Benjamin pulls out of a trip with his mum to Greece and instead invites Magalie along, the pinnacle of the experience to be a visit to the Chapel of Agia Anna on the island of Amorgos, a pilgrimage from 'The Big Blue' idolised in their childhood. However, the holiday appears to be a disaster from the get-go, with Blandine and Magalie clashing at every stage - and every nightmare scenario imaginable endured by the pair.

'TWO TICKETS TO GREECE' TRAILER

'Two Tickets To Greece' is the kind of film Hollywood will remake in a few years and completely butcher its execution. It's pure fun, but in the most unexpected ways. The idea of an odd couple is nothing new, and the characters rooted in the screenplay have been based on clichés, but fortunately, neither is actually the central focus of this story. Their relationship and their personalities come to the forefront, with the actors' strong personalities allowed to shine.

That's helped along terrifically by Côte and Calamy, two superb performers given so much room to play. Côte comes to her role as timid and burnt, but brings an underlying firmness to Blandine that ensures she can't just be walked over. On the other hand, Calamy envelops the screen every time she appears; a black hole of attention whose all-consuming presence is simultaneously life-giving and exhausting. Their pairing is only amplified around halfway through the film with the introduction of Kristen Scott Thomas' ('The Party', 'The English Patient') character Bijou - no, I didn't realise despite being British she grew up with and lives in Paris with her French husband. These three women together on-screen display both such strength and vulnerability it's hard not to be swept up in the farcical life events happening around them.

These three women together on-screen display both such strength and vulnerability it's hard not to be swept up in the farcical life events happening around them.

That's inevitably for the best, since the cinematography isn't what you'd imagine for a film of this ilk. We're all used to Instagram's stunningly over-produced travel videos, and unfortunately 'Two Tickets To Greece' doesn't have that same aesthetic. Sure, we end up in some handsome destinations, and there is the occasional moment of awe projected on the big screen, but overall for a movie with a destination in its title, it doesn't have the wow factor of postcard-perfect panoramas.

As the adage goes, it's not about the destination but the journey. 'Two Tickets To Greece' is the perfect representation of this - while you're not set to experience a revelatory tale, it's through the characters' experiences and growth that really make this a ride worth going on. Leave all expectations at home and grab two tickets of your own to join these effervescent women excelling under the most challenging of circumstances.

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