Settling in to watch ‘Dumped’ as part of the 30th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, I took a quick look around the small cinema to gauge the mid-week evening audience: lots of women, lots of very full glasses of wine and quite a few French people, from the sound of it.
30-something party girl Rose (Camille Cottin, ‘Connasse, Princesse Des Coeurs’) and her married-with-kids sister Alice (Camille Chamoux, ‘Don’t Tell Her’) decide to take their mother Françoise (Miou Miou, ‘The Science of Sleep') on an island resort vacation after she is dumped by their father for a much younger women. The leggy Rose has shunned a job and family ties in favour of all-night clubbing and one-night stands (she reacts in disgust when Alice asks if she will freeze her eggs). She is the polar opposite of her sister who is a textbook, middle-class French mother and wife (she reacts in disgust when she’s told she isn’t as sexual as her sister or mother). Thrown together in an attempt to pull their mother out of her post-separation depression, the three woman struggle to reconnect with each other.
Cottin and director Eloïse Lang previously worked together on ‘Connasse, Princesse Des Coeurs’ (or ‘Harry Me’) which detailed, in documentary-style, Cottin’s attempt to marry Britian’s Prince Harry. ‘Dumped’ ( a remake of the Danish comedy film ‘All Inclusive’ directed by Hella Joof) is a more conventional film about love and loss, and drafts in veteran actress Miou Miou to add gravity to this very lightweight comedy.
While the storyline of ‘Dumped’ holds no surprises, Cottin, Miou Miou and Camille Chamoux are engaging and funny as the three female members of a dysfunctional family. Cottin’s outspoken, laconic Rose is amusingly contrasted with Chamoux’s uptight Alice. Chamoux shines in a number of comic moments, particularly an attempted seduction scene and an inappropriately timed FaceTime call. Miou-Miou excels as the morose matriarch, delivering blackly comic musings on all the joy that surrounds her (she covers Dalida and Alain Delon’s 'Paroles, Paroles' in a karaoke scene which encapsulates this).
Cottin’s outspoken, laconic Rose is amusingly contrasted with Chamoux’s uptight Alice. Chamoux shines in a number of comic moments, particularly an attempted seduction scene and an inappropriately timed Facetime call.
Each of the film’s protagonists is at a different point in their life and tackling their own personal challenges - Francoise’s heartbreak, Rose’s lack of order, and Alice losing her spark through the banalities of motherhood. Much of the narrative relies on humorous character interactions with the distant family reconnecting and supporting (or triggering) each other’s progression and growth.
As you can gather, Lang has a keen eye on what makes the female characters amusing, but her attempts to make the male characters amusing generally fall flat. Not surprisingly in a film which celebrates female solidarity, the dudes (a morose single dad and an ageing lothario who pursues first Rose and then Francoise) are little more than targets for Cottin’s sharp humour.
Elsewhere, Antoine Monod’s sun-kissed cinematography captures an unusual beauty in the Club Med-like tourist trap island setting, whilst an upbeat contemporary pop soundtrack keeps proceedings light and accessible.
‘Dumped’ doesn’t aim to be highbrow, sophisticated satire, but it does deliver the laughs (the audience at my screening were roaring). Full of fun and broad humour, it captures the essence of a holiday at the beach. This film is best enjoyed with a big glass of red wine.