Combustible Celluloid
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With: Melvil Poupaud, Jeanne Moreau, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Daniel Duval, Marie Rivière, Christian Sengewald
Written by: François Ozon
Directed by: François Ozon
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 85
Date: 05/16/2005

Time to Leave (2006)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Pale Ailment

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

SRC="" border="0" height="150" align="right"> The ever-unpredictable Francois Ozon has dabbled in all different colors and textures, from John Waters and Hitchcock (See the Sea, Sitcom, Under the Sand, Swimming Pool) to Cukor and Stanley Donen (8 Women) to Fassbinder (Water Drops on Burning Rocks). But lately he has ventured into new territory: bad movies. His 5x2 was a severely trying and ultimately insulting portrayal of a brutal, failed relationship. But his new film, Time to Leave, takes the cake. It's a pointless, crushingly dull "disease of the week" film in which a shallow, selfish, gay fashion photographer, Romain (Melvil Poupaud), suddenly collapses during a shoot. Diagnosed with cancer, he sets out to do all the usual disease movie stuff, alienating his friends and family in the first half, and then undoing the damage during the second half, preparing for a noble death. Part of his renewal includes servicing a waitress (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) who asks Romain to be the surrogate father of her child. Her husband is sterile and, after all, Romain is very handsome. (Hopefully that "arrogance" gene will not be passed down.) But Romain's turning point is also the movie's high point. During a visit to his grandmother (Jeanne Moreau) the film suddenly turns thoughtful and wistful; the two spend a couple of days together, sleeping, talking and dreaming. It's an almost unbearably beautiful sequence within an otherwise pretentious package. Yet, aggravatingly, this film will probably earn Ozon more accolades and awards than any of his more accomplished suspense films.

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