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Genre: Drama, Comedy
Countries: France, Belgium, Canada
Language: French w/ English subtitles
Starring: Max Von Sydow, Amir, Michele Laroque
Director: Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Run time: 105 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
Oscar Et La Dame Rose, or, Oscar And The Lady In Pink, if you will, is the kind of movie that could very easily become a schmaltzy, tear-jerking pile of garbage. It’s a testament to the story, written by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, and the direction of Schmitt, that this movie doesn’t become self-involved and trite.
It’s the story of young Oscar, played wonderfully by young Amir, who is a terminal cancer patient. You know, those stories about kids who are given just a couple of months to live that are designed to make people cry throughout the movie. Except that this movie doesn’t do that. In fact, the big intent in Oscar Et La Dame Rose is to make the audience laugh. And I did laugh, a lot.
See, Oscar becomes fast friends with a lady, Rose, who delivers pizza to the cancer ward. Rose has her own story in the film, and we find out that she is, in many ways, the last person who would ever do volunteer work at the terminal ward of a hopsital. She comes up with a way to help Oscar through each day. Since he has only a little bit of time left, they conceive of each day as several years in his life.
This is where the biggest laughs arise. Oscar is a charming kid, and he quickly develops an old soul. Soon, when he reaches the age of “80″, he’s saying things like “you know, at my age, you don’t get around as fast as you once did”. He begins a relationship with a little girl in the same ward. They get “married” one night, and they do “all the things a married couple do”. Except for kissing with tongues, because that’s what makes babies.
Yes, this movie is tender and warm-hearted and sad. How can it not be with the whole dying-kid subject matter? But really, it’s a fantasy, as Oscar escapes into his head, listening to the tales of professional wrestling that Rose recounts. And really, it’s more comedy than drama, as this funny little boy becomes a man, then a very old man, in just a few days. This is a wonderful film.