We had high expectations for My Best Part, being the first film co-written, directed and starring Call My Agent’s Nicolas Maury as the protagonist, Jérémie. Unfortunately, these were dashed as the film became unnecessarily long, tedious and at times plain boring, a cinematic cardinal sin.
The premise of My Best Part is that it tells the story of Jérémie, a young man whose jealousy is consuming his life and ruining his relationship with Albert. To make matters worse, he’s just lost an acting role he wanted because he didn’t play tennis as the role required. He uproots and takes himself to his doting mother Nathalie Baye (who coincidentally also appeared in one episode of Call My Agent), in Limousin, where the object of his jealousy extends to young Kevin, a young man who helps his mother around the house and garden.
We learn that the film’s French title Garçon Chiffon comes from his mother still calling him by his childhood name chiffon, which she explains came about when as a child, he would fall asleep anywhere and was found sleeping among rabbits. This doesn’t really explain it and we’re unsure whether it’s an attempt at absurdist humour or an oversight.
At times it feels like we’re in a dream. Flashback hazy lighting applied to certain scenes (even though they’re not from the past). The characters – particularly in the scene with Jérémie and his boyfriend Albert – move as if they are dancing. This adds a quirky element to the film but awkwardly My Best Part is like a dream that we can’t wake up from.
Regrettably, we never found ourselves feeling sorry for or wanting anything for main character Jérémie. All we wanted was for the film to end!
Special mention however should go to Laure Calamy (also of Call My Agent and Antoinette dans les Cévennes from this year’s Alliance Française French Film Festival). Her cameo role as the neurotic film director on the verge of a nervous breakdown was impressive and a highlight of the film. Going from screaming hysterically at her husband to calmly asking Jérémie to follow her into the adjoining room. We also appreciated the in-joke about her acting in her own film – the very thing that Nicolas Maury is doing in My Best Part.
My Best Part had potential and a strong start with comedic promise but slowly withered away into the tedium. We’re not sure if that’s meant to be representative of Jérémie’s life spiralling away because of his uncontrollable jealousy.
The best part of My Best Part was the first 30 minutes. Highlights include Jérémie attending Jealous Anonymous, and the scene of the memorial to Denis, his father in which his grandmother seems unsure of quite why she’s there and keeps asking where Denis is. The one hour 50 minutes running time of My Best Part felt far longer and editing could easily have trimmed this down to just over an hour though we’re unsure if that would have saved My Best Part.
My Best Part is screening at Sydney Film Festival 2021 (SFF 2021).
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