French writer-director Eloïse Lang explores the relationship between a mother and her daughters in comedy-drama Dumped (Larguées). Rose (Camille Cottin) is a wacky party animal who enjoys a care-free life of drinking and dancing until the small hours. Her sister Alice (Camille Chamoux) is quite the opposite; happily married with two young children. When their mother Françoise (Miou-Miou) is dumped by their father for a younger woman, they hatch a plan to cheer her up, whisking her off to Réunion island for what is intended to be a weekend of sun, sea, sand and serenity.
Though these are wildly different reference points, Lang’s story has the family unit of Grace & Frankie that unfolds on a format akin to the Benidorm television series. The holiday-mode spirit is well captured by Antoine Monod’s sun-soaked cinematography, which compliments Lang’s punchy script. The three central characters are well established in the opening act and the narrative is gently paced as they work through their individual issues, as well as assisting one another. The various faces they encounter on the island are cleverly employed as devices to drive the plot forward and to develop the women’s characters further, leading to sidesplitting comedic moments but also some tender scenes too.
Cottin, Chamoux and Miou-Miou are excellent together on-screen, each bringing their own attributes to the respective roles but also sharing a delightful harmony in the scenes involving all three. The contrasting sister dynamic is particularly heart-warming as on the surface they clash, and they bicker, but underneath they want a little of what the other has. Dumped (Larguées) is brilliantly blithe and full of fun, encapsulating the insouciant essence of a holiday in the sun. Time away from day-to-day trials and tribulations can offer up an opportunity to reflect, and while their trip is initially planned to help Françoise recover from her marital woes, hers isn’t the only emotional baggage that needs to be checked. Lang delivers an entertaining cinematic excursion that you won’t want to come back from.