The Restless (Les intranquilles)
Year Released: 2021, 2023 US premiere
Runtime: 1h 57m
Director(s): Joachim Lafosse
Writer(s): Lou Du Pontavice, Juliette Goudot, Pablo Guarise, Joachim Lafosse
Cast: Leïla Bekhti, Damien Bonnard, Gabriel Merz Chammah, Patrick Descamps, Jules Waringo, Alexandre Gavras
Where To Watch: making its U.S. premiere on April 28, 2023, exclusively on Film Movement Plus
RAVING REVIEW: Joachim Lafosse has created a unique and vital world in THE RESTLESS, where audiences are immersed in the reality and challenges of bipolar disorder as it spotlights the emotional rollercoaster between Leila and Damien. Damien Bonnard, who plays Damien, wrestles with maintaining stability in his life despite his ongoing battle with his mental health and desire to meet Leïla’s (Leïla Bekhti) expectations.
THE RESTLESS illustrates the unrelenting impact of someone living with bipolar disorder, as Damien is shown living in organized chaos within his world. Leila is caught in Damien's whirlwind life as she juggles his unpredictable moods and the care of their son Amine, played by Gabriel Merz Chammah.
Damien, a gifted painter, frequently finds his bipolar disorder tied to the classic connection between genius and balancing the unpredictable. He pours himself into his artistry, painting fervently, while Leila strives to bring stability by trying to help with medication and figuring out his way of life.
The film offers an insightful exploration of the hurdles faced by those with bipolar disorder and their loved ones. Initially, Leila appears to be dampening Damien's zest for life. We ultimately see Leila fighting a losing battle without the ability to handle the situation the best way. Damien finally needs help to the extent that she may be unable to deliver.
Lafosse utilizes music to set the tone and evoke emotions, especially in scenes where you can see their love and shared energy. Somehow the script remains a very well-done affair. I am traditionally against having this many cooks in the kitchen, but they handle it with stride, creating a cohesive world and characters that inhabit it naturally.
Distinct from mental health-themed movies that fall prey to clichéd sentiments, THE RESTLESS offers an authentic exploration of the challenges faced by those with bipolar disorder and the subsequent impact on their relationships. While not perfect, I recognize that heart and effort were put into showing this disorder compassionately, even while the plot line has to have a character struggling with how to handle it.
Both performances by Damien Bonnard and Leïla Bekhti were remarkable for their attention to detail; THE RESTLESS is an engaging watch for those seeking a deeper understanding of the complexities of bipolar disorder. Joachim Lafosse's expert direction and storytelling make this film an unforgettable experience, shedding light on the struggles and triumphs of individuals affected by mental illness and their loved ones.
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[photo courtesy of FILM MOVEMENT]