It’s Not the Time of My Life focuses on a married Hungarian couple whose son, Bruno is a little devil and not in a cute Dennis-the-Menace sort of way. Young Bruno’s obnoxious, anti-social and at times violent behavior is dividing the couple. As the wife E observes, they were able to be a good twosome, but as a family of three, they’re failing. Eszter is lenient and loving believing that employing the right contemporary child psychology is best for Bruno. Farkas, her husband, is going nuts with Bruno and believes some old school discipline is needed before Bruno grows into a teen who’s spending time in and out of jail. (I tended to agree with the dad.)
As if this weren’t enough, late one night,Eszter’s sister, Ernella, and brother in law Albert and their daughter Laura surprise them with an open-ended stay. They’d been living in Scotland and left so now they need a place to stay. E and Albert are unsuccessful and nomadic. They seem to go from failure to failure and often need money.
Both couples are questioning where their marriages are going and reflecting on how life has changed them.
The film is smart, emotional and at times intense at times depicting realistic couples questioning and confronting their problems. A lot is packed into the film, which makes for a steady pace. I also appreciated seeing a film set in modern Hungary. I’m afraid when I think of Hungry I think of the Cold War and poverty rather than yuppies barely coping with a boy who’d think nothing of burning the house down or one that’s discovered their sullen 10 year-old daughter has stolen as an attempt to help with the family’s money problems. The tone and look of the film is very natural and real making it very compelling.
What’s even more surprising is that the director stars as Farkas, he used his own apartment and family members for the film.
In this French film, we meet Antoine, the Dad in Training, who’s a mess as an adult. He’s a music producer and has little regular work. In the opening scene he’s begging for funding for the latest singer he’s found. It doesn’t look like that recording will get off the ground. At home, he contributes little financially and nil as far as child care of his two delightful daughters.
His wife Alice reaches a breaking point. The couple separate legally and Alice sends the two girls to Antoine for him to take care of for two weeks. She goes incommunicado so Antoine must manage juggling both his music career and figuring out how to be a father, how to get a 6 year old to take her medicine, how to console a nine year old daughter, who thinks she’s responsible for her parent’s separation and how to feed two kids when money’s tight. His sister often helps out and offers a realistic, sometimes critical but always true view of Antoine’s life.
As the story progresses, after various gaffes hooking up and with online dating, and Antoine does grow up as a father. Alice is impressed, but will they get back together?
All the performances rang true. I liked Antoine’s sister’s role as she offered real advice without pulling any punches. The ending was real and certainly not what a Hollywood film would have done. A definite thumbs up.
On hulu.com, I found an exclusive British series called The Rev. Starring Tom Hollander as a vicar newly transferred from the countryside to a struggling parish in East London, The Rev’s got a lot going for it. It’s smart and charming with a cast of beautiful losers like the stick in the mud associate, Nigel, the smart, loyal wife, Alex, the prim headmistress and the quirky down and out Collin. The Rev offers a humorous, real depiction of faith and hits the nail on the head with it’s jibes at the young, cool Christians who sip smoothies in church as their pastor extolls God’s awesomeness or the annoyance of a know-it-all, critical archdeacon.
While I don’t laugh out loud, the way I do when watching Outnumbered, I do like these characters and this church with its broken window, faded paint and small, odd-ball congregation. The cast reminds me a bit of The Bob Newhart Show.