Driving Madeleine by Christian Carion [6/10]

A long, long drive across Paris, with tightly wound, troubled Charles a taxi driver ferrying old, ill Madeleine to a nursing home, gives “Driving Madeleine” license to softly, softly explore two different characters from different eras. An easy conceit that plays out like a theatre play, the film also indirectly shines a light on Paris itself. Dany Boon and Line Renaud are perfectly cast and slot into their roles with happy ease. As the journey progresses, the ice breaks and Madeleine relates (via acted-out flashbacks) the central tragic early highlights of her life. The pair gradually bonds over traffic, ice creams, and a bang-up dinner. Filmmaker Christian Carion is unafraid of drenching the climax in a sappy, predictable glow that blunts any edge the movie could have had, but even that sentimentality seems like a conscious filmic decision rather than poor scripting. Nothing much happens in Driving Madeleine and that in itself drapes it with a cozy warmth that engulfs the viewer.

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