An ageing shoeshine, Marcel Marx (Andre Wilms) takes in a young African boy, Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) after he escapes from a ship’s cargo container in the French
Marcel’s lack of money and sadness that his wife Arletty (Kati Outinen) is
gravely ill in hospital, he does all he can to reunite the young migrant with
his mother who has settled in port
of Le Havre .
The plot is tinged with sadness as first you see Marcel struggling to make a living, returning with only a few Euros after a hard day and then his wife’s illness which forces her to spend most of the film in hospital. Idrissa’s life is similarly depressing having been forced to spend weeks inside a pitch black cargo container on a dangerous trip from
Africa in the hope of being reunited with his mother only
to find himself on the wrong side of the Channel and wanted by the Police. It
is the coming together of the unlikely twosome which brings vigour to both
characters. The story is sweet but lacks an edge which maintained my interest.
It is very slow and not as funny as I’d heard it would be.
One thing I liked about
was its attitude towards European migration.
It’s a contentious subject in Western Europe and here in the UK especially
where newspapers, politicians and most ordinary people seem to fear the influx
of ‘foreigners’ seemingly forgetting that firstly, Britain is an island so we
were all ‘foreigners’ once and secondly, they had no say in where they were
born themselves. I’ve never understood the sense of superiority that certain
people have, based solely in where their mother happened to have them. This
film appears to share a similar idea and backs it up with Marcel’s
determination to help a young boy who just wants a better life. It isn’t
Idrissa’s fault that he was born into a country with high unemployment and low
life expectancy so Marcel’s decision to help him try to better himself as well
as reunite him with his family seem like the logical and humane choice. There
are of course those who disagree with this but I was pleased to see that an
important character that had the potential to stop them, didn’t. Le Havre
Although the film suits my politics and was a ‘nice’ film, it wasn’t exactly special. The acting was quite stilted in places but I couldn’t determine whether it was intentional or not. At times it was so bad that I assumed it must have been. Andre Wilms is very good though. In the end
is a pleasant film with an enjoyable
and heart-warming story about self sacrifice and ‘love thy neighbour’ which
harks back to a time now lost. Le Havre