Infidelity, especially in French cinema, has been such a recurring theme that even the greatest of auteurs have delved into it in one of their movies. So, it is only about time that Mia Hansen-Løve, who has often professed her love for Eric Rohmer, made a film about it. However, that doesn’t mean her newest film ‘One Fine Morning (Un beau matin)’ strays far away from her style and thematic inclinations, nor does it lose itself in the usual tropes found in dramas of its kind. It’s another thing that, in spite of the director’s rather intimate look, the story feels slight and a little too familiar.

For One Fine Morning, Hansen-Løve returns to Paris after her English language debut ‘Bergman Island.’ The film stars Léa Seydoux as Sandra Kienzler – a single mother who has been living with her young daughter and has been alone for quite some time. She works as an interpreter and sometimes a translator, as she speaks fluent German as well as English. When we meet her for the first time, she is dressed in plain, professional-looking clothes and has extremely short hair. She has no sign of makeup on; possible reasons might be her inability to find time to do so – having to juggle her daughter’s needs, visiting her ailing father every day, and working on important live interpretations or simply having forgotten to do it in the first place.

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When she sleeps with her old acquaintance Clément (Melvil Poupaud) for the first time, she claims that she hasn’t ‘done it’ for a long time and she might not be really good at it. Clément, who is married and has a kid, feels like the only shining light in her otherwise somber existence. So, in spite of the forbidden nature of this affair, an emotionally shut-out Sandra starts to feel things. Between her time at work and catering to her father Georg (Pascal Greggory) – an ex-philosophy professor with an ardent love for books, ridden with the cruelty of losing his sight due to an extreme case of Benson’s syndrome, she is also tasked with finding a suitable care home for her father.


This puts Sandra in a situation none of us wants to be in. While her affair with Clément is the only good thing about her life right now, between him and her father, she feels like a fish caught in the water that is full of emotionally unavailable men. Clement is unable to prioritize between Sandra and his life with his child and wife. In contrast, the deteriorating condition of Georg – a man whose entire life has been about reading and writing, has put Sandra in a state of constant grief for a loss that she hasn’t even endured yet. What Mia Hansen-Løve does here is show us a character that is going through emotional turmoil in spite of her overall passive nature.

In a beautiful sequence, we see a disturbed Sandra taking a bus home after meeting her father at one of his care homes. She and Clement have kept things off for a while, and when she receives a message from him that reads how much she means to him, Sandra momentarily smiles before withering quietly in tears. It is a testament to Léa Seydoux’s talent that this moment is lifted to greatness. There are other really small conflicts that the director instills in the tale making it dodge the melodrama and feels delicately handled. For instance, she uses Sandra’s daughter limping out of nowhere as a metaphor for her need to have some kind of agency in the life that her mother controls.

However, in spite of visiting familiar themes of personal crisis, desire, and existentialism, Mia Hansen-Løve’s One Fine Morning doesn’t feel as emotionally involving as it’s supposed to be. The passiveness of the character aside, the script’s personal touches don’t feel like they are coupled with well-written ones. The director shows a story that takes a look at infidelity from the side of the ‘other woman.’ Still, there’s very little here that keeps you engaged with the proceedings and eventually makes this a forgettable experience.





One Fine Morning will have its US Theatrical Premiere at Film Forum on January 27th, 2023

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One Fine Morning (2022) Movie Trailer

One Fine Morning (2022) Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
One Fine Morning (2022) Movie Cast – Léa Seydoux, Pascal Greggory, Melvil Poupaud, Nicole Garcia
Where to watch One Fine Morning

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