In what must be the sweetest time-travel movie ever made, the remarkable twin actresses Joséphine and Gabrielle Sanz play best friends (and in the context of the film, mother, and daughter) in Céline Sciamma’s “Petite Maman”, the follow-up to her landmark Queer Film “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”. Clocking in at a svelte 72 minutes, the movie focuses on eight-year-old Nelly (Joséphine) who has just lost her maternal grandmother. When her parents retreat to her mother’s childhood home to empty it out, Nelly is left very much to her own devices. Playing in the woods one day, she meets a young girl named Marion (Gabrielle) who is her spitting image! Marion is also Nelly’s mother’s name and young Marion is scheduled to go into hospital for treatment of the same bone ailment which afflicts Nelly’s mother.
Mother and Daughter.
Most of us have fantasized about what our parents were like as children or adolescents and here Nelly comes face to face with her mother and her mother’s past. Nothing much happens with respect to plot development. However, seeing mother and daughter getting to know one another is all we need. You leave the theatre on a high but a high tinged with envy and a little sadness. I wished (I still wish) that I could have met my mom and dad when they and I were kids. I think that, like Nelly, it would have made a difference.