(3.5 stars) The movie deals with those ghosts that haunt us. Everyone has them and they are all different from person to person. It also deals with the concept of finding your place and what you value. Mental illness and acceptance as well. Woven into the story, these concepts are presented in a realistic manner that makes you uncomfortable at times. But, to its credit, the movie never shies away from these issues.
Like Carson McCullers transported to working class Normandy, this movie charms! The central relationship is as sweet as it is improbable. What's more, it's funny without ever tapping into exploitation (despite many, many opportunities to do otherwise). It's refreshing to not feel cruel about laughing as a fifty year old mentally disabled man unknowingly takes a whiff of poppers...
Lacks depth regarding the identity of Willy, especially because around him all is cliched and does not elevate the naturally strong presence of Daniel Vannet. The kind of morally compromised social cinema done here is better suited for a shorter format, as the much better "Perrault, La Fontaine, mon cul!" proves.
A story about dreams, and how they often fall apart, slowly devoured by the reality of "everyday life". I imagine this film might seem bland, but this is where its honesty lies - it captures the desperate feeling of a dreamer finally waking up, facing the harsh reality, where escape means only one thing. It's a film about a small town, where nothing happens, littered with lonely souls. Surprisingly strong acting.
Very good editing/script/image all in off notes relying on plot devices a bit too hard towards the end. A film about loss, courage, where it is mostly all well done and that is really really worth a watch. Playing on the impossibility for the average audience of this film to identify with the characters, they are not just others but we are encouraged to thing of them as less, just to be shown how wrong we are.
Daniel Vannet does great work in the lead role here, playing a man who is trying to process the sudden death of his twin brother as he is forced to move out of his comfort zone and belatedly start living his own life, at the age of 50-something. A film that doesn't seem to focus on anything, but remains affecting and enjoyable nonetheless.
It feels like a drama made for TV. The directors appear to be taking the piss out of Willy but there’s just enough sensitivity to stop it becoming awkward. The storyline is simple A to B stuff but the main character is weirdly compelling and there are enough stylistic flourishes to make this watchable, I guess.
Willy 1er has a strange beauty. The excellent work of the directors’ team, combined with Vannet's memorable performance, results in an idiosyncratic work. Influenced by the thematic and sonorous style of Xavier Dolan, the film is a good respite for French cinema. Wonderful!