Review: Love Like Poison

A young girl's coming of age mixed up with strong Catholic faith would seem to be a potent brew but Katell Quill�v�r�'s debut film is underplayed and naturalistic.

Fourteen-year-old Anna (Clara Augarde) returns home from a Catholic boarding school to Brittany to discover that her father has left home and her mother (Lio) is an emotional wreck.

While her distraught parent seeks comfort in the Church, young Anna prepares for her confirmation and finds her salvage in the words of her grandfather Jean (Michel Galabru).

A local boy called Pierre (Youen Leboulanger-Gourvil), who has little time for God in his freewheeling life, proves a catalyst for Anna's sexual awakening and the teenager must wrestle with a maelstrom of emotions as she takes the first tentative steps towards womanhood.

This is the kind of film where some strange little scene will strike you as wonderful for no particular reason. For me it was the one where the boy coaxes the young priest to join a game of football and he resists before suddenly throwing off his jacket and running on to the pitch and asserting himself into the game with a flurry of activity.

In the next scene we see him puffed out and excited by the game. It doesn't really seem to be saying anything in particular but it really makes you believe in the depth of these characters and the truth of the situation.

The plot is familiar stuff but delivered with such nuance and detail you suspect it might have been taken directly scene by scene from Quill�v�r�'s own upbringing.

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Love Like Poison (15)

Director: Katell Quillevere

With: Clara Augarde, Lio, Michel Galabru, Stefano Cassetti and Youen


Length: 92 mins