Omar Sy (The Intouchables, Chocolat and Samba) is impeccable in his role of Samuel, a man enjoying his party, womanising sea-side life who is suddenly thrown into fatherhood when a woman he slept with once, Kristin (“de Berlin” asks he? “non de Londres” retorts her) played by Clémence Poesy (In Bruges and The Tunnel) arrives and drops their baby in his arms and flees. He flies to London in an attempt to find her, based only on her Facebook photo showing her standing in front of the a pub, where he assumes she works. Not so.
He lands a job as a stuntman due to a lucky encounter with Frenchman Bernie played by the wonderful Antoine Bertrand, who amuses in his constant perving on, and flirting with, straight men in his false conviction that they are gay or at least gay-curious.
Samuel fails to find Kristin and stays in London to raise Gloria turning his life around and living solely to create the world every child would dream of. He creates the image of a mother who is a spy on missions around the world, sending daily emails to Gloria. Each of Gloria’s replies to those emails are forwarded on to Kristin’s facebook account but never seen or replied to. Until 8 years later. Just as Samuel is about to tell Gloria the truth, at Bernie’s insistence, Kristin saves him that fate appearing as connected to her facebook profile and suddenly reading all of the messages their daughter Gloria has sent. She replies simply and without explanation “J’arrive demain” (“I arrive tomorrow”).
But the film is not all light and airy. Kristin’s return, with her partner of 4 years, Lowell (played by Ashley Walters of Speed Racer and Bullet Boy), with whom she now lives in New York sees Kristin and Lowell’s push to have custody of Gloria and for her to even initially live with them part-time in New York. Kristin’s absence is never explained only that she was struggling and was a bad mother to Gloria. A legal battle ensues for her custody.
The on-screen rapport between Samuel and 8 year old Gloria (played by Gloria Colston in her debut screen acting role) makes the heart sing. Their adoration for each other is unmistakable. Fun scenes such as racing to the door and brushing each other’s teeth make for touching, tender moments. The film is full of those even as it take us on a roller-coaster ride of emotions through the custody battle.
Colston’s acting skill is impressive given her young age. Instead of learning all of her lines and following the script tightly, she is said to have been allowed to ad lib and perhaps, as such we see a more believable young Gloria in the film.
This film is a true delight and it is not difficult to see why it has received such good audience numbers worldwide but a word of warning: pack your tissues.
Two is a family has been in cinemas Australia-wide since Thursday 28 June. For a list of cinemas screening the film, look here: http://www.palacefilms.com.au/twoisafamily/