Just To Be Sure (Ôtez-moi d’un doute) is a French comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It deals with some important and weighty issues like: family, identity and roots but handles these in a quirky and funny way. What could have been a self-proclaimed neo-Greek tragedy actually turns out to be a fun and whimsical little farce.
This film is directed by Carine Tardieu and stars François Damiens as Erwan Gourmelon, an explosives expert. He clears areas of buried munitions and is a widowed man with an adult daughter. Life bubbles along quite uneventfully until a doctor’s appointment becomes a catalyst for some life-altering events.
Gourmelon is about to become a grandfather after his daughter Juliette (Alice de Lencquesaing) falls pregnant after a one-night stand with a masked Zorro at a costume party. Juliette is refusing to identify the father of her child and is insisting on raising her daughter alone. Juliette’s father is being supportive and Gourmelon accompanies his daughter to a doctor’s appointment where she gets the results of a routine genetics test for the unborn child.
The doctor’s office serves as the backdrop for a hard lesson. Gourmelon learns that the man he has called “Dad” for over four decades is not his biological father. Gourmelon becomes determined to track down this mystery man and he hires a detective to aid in this search. The next part requires a large suspension of disbelief because the stars seem to align and Gourmelon meets his father.
Enter Joseph Levkine (André Wilms) a charming and lonely man who is seeking some companionship. When Gourmelon and Levkine meet, the two hit it off and become firm friends. Around this same time Gourmelon also meets a beautiful but prickly doctor named Anna (Cécile De France) and the pair fall in love.
Gourmelon’s simple life suddenly seems a lot more complicated. It leaves us wondering how he will manage to negotiate these new connections and relationships. We may also wonder what affect his burgeoning relationship with his biological father will have on his existing relationship with his adopted Dad, an easy-going fisherman named Bastien (Guy Marchand.)
Just To Be Sure can be an emotional rollercoaster at times but for the most part, it’s a feel good tale about a father and son. There are some great performances here and the chemistry between this ensemble cast is palpable. There is also some witty and fantastic dialogue about some comedic misunderstandings. At its core, Just To Be Sure is a sharp and nuanced little farce about some loveable eccentrics who stop short of breaking out into song and singing, “We Are Family,” even though you know they want to.
Review Score: THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Just To Be Sure hits Australia cinemas on Boxing Day.