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Love at First Child

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French romantic comedies automatically have an edge over American films (for American audiences, at least)…they’re in French, and they often take place in France.  If that’s not enough to convince you to check out Love at First Child (original title: Ange et Gabrielle), don’t worry, this sweet film stands squarely on its own regardless of the audience.

Ange is an architect, happily living the single life aside from being a high-functioning hypochondriac, until Gabrielle appears at his office one day.  She shrilly informs him that his estranged son, Simon, has gotten her daughter, Claire, pregnant and demands that he talk some sense into the boy.  Ange stingingly retorts that he and Simon’s mother had an agreement which basically boils down to him not being in Simon’s life at all, so paternal advice would be neither welcomed nor appropriate.  Gabrielle reluctantly leaves, but her love for her daughter brings her back, again begging Ange to talk to baby-allergic Simon.  Ange’s curiosity finally wins out and he initiates a cautious relationship with Simon.  When baby Louise is born, Ange and Gabrielle’s natural bonding over their mutual granddaughter blossoms into something a little bit more.

This film is part Three Men and a Baby (1987) and part Father of the Bride Part II (1995), but with a straightforward lack of gag-worthy clichéd meet-cutes…or rather, the meet-cutes are truly enjoyable with a healthy dose of slaps and red wine.  Ange (Patrick Bruel) and Gabrielle (Isabelle Carré) are both genuine and believable in their roles, while Claire (Alice de Lencquesaing) and Simon (Thomas Solivérès) do a great job of making you want to shake them until the teeth in their teenaged-heads rattle.  There are several moments of OMGBABYWTF moments, the most memorable being when Ange and Simon hose down baby Louise in the kitchen sink, but they’re nicely tempered by the lack of uptightness that I honestly hope all French parents possess.  That being said, it’s a movie, not a Parents pour les Nuls manual.

I doubt that this is strictly an American sentiment, but there are some times when I just want to sit down and watch Lifetime-ish movies about love that blossoms with a minimum of drama (although preferably over Christmas, check out my bio if you don’t believe me)…Love at First Child fits very neatly into my Netflix category for angst-free, SweeTart-popping, happily-ever-after, rainy-weekend binge-watching movies.  Is there anything new or ground-breaking here?  No.  But sometimes, that’s exactly what I want.

This film is in French, but the version I screened did have English subtitles available.  If you speak French or adapt just fine to subtitles (I do and adore both), then you’ll love the film and trust me…the storyline speaks for itself, regardless of the language.  Amusez-vous bien!

Love at First Child is streaming now on the following services:
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