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Stars: Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tahar Rahim, Izia Higelin, Youngar Fall, Issaka Sawadogo, Helene Vincent, Christiane Millet, Clotilde Mollet, Liya Kebede

Director: Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano

Writer/directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano’s follow-up to their rightly well-received 2011 Intouchables suffers somewhat because here they have set out to meld two central themes – the battle by an illegal immigrant to remain in France and his rather too predictable romance with the depressive social worker who takes on his case.

After 10 years during which he has kept his head low and survived by taking low-paid jobs, Senegalese Omar Sy’s status as an illegal immigrant is exposed and he faces expulsion. This sombre key theme works quite well in terms of sharply-observed and pertinent social drama.

His subsequent romance with social worker Charlotte Gainsbourg, who takes on his case pro bono, is well played by both actors but this strand comes across as a rather routine romantic one and fails to blend.

That said, Sy and Gainsbourg are excellent and play their romance with almost enough charm and depth to give their relationship reasonable depth.

Tahir Rahim clearly enjoys himself, too, as the mock South American illegal who befriends Sy.

Result: a pleasant-enough romantic drama, but one which could have done with a much sharper bite to give its examination of the plight of illegal immigrants justifiable emphasis.

Alan Frank

France 2014. UK Distributor: Koch Film. Colour.
118 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 03 May 2015