Patrick Cassir’s Our Happy Holiday (2018) is a quintessential Romcom with a fairly unrealistic plot.
Overall, this film is fun. It’s about lovers on an adventure of misfortune, lust and excitement where things don’t go to plan because there was hardly one to begin with. It’s an easy watch and a feel good film that you will likely find yourself enjoying.
The main point of distinction between the two protagonists; Marion (Camille Chamoux ) and Ben (Johnathan Cohen) is the dichotomy of their travelling preferences. Marion is a carefree woman who thrives in circumstances of spontaneity, authenticity and adventure. Ben, however, is a man fond of luxury, prestige and comfort. Initially the only common ground they share is an ability to swipe right on tinder in Paris.
What begins as a contemporary love recipe; a swipe right and a drink in the city leads a more unconventional lovers adventure; a spontaneous trip to Bulgaria. Unsurprisingly, the trip does not go smoothly, and rightfully so as there would be far less incentive to watch this film if there were no perils for you to chuckle at. Whilst Ben’s repulsion at any bathroom or bedroom below 5 stars indicates his superficiality, the ensuing misfortunes that he grapples with will make you giggle and portray him in an endearing light. In contrast, Marion’s enthusiasm to immerse herself in her new surroundings will inspire you but her inability to tolerate pomposity will make you revaluate your own ability to endure social discomfort.
What stood out to me as one of the most compelling aspects of this film was the cinematography of rural Bulgarian settings. Cassir lets the scenery speak for itself. Whilst scenes of Marion and Ben bickering on dirt paths with unsuitable baggage are presented to the audience, the focus of the viewer cannot be swerved from Cassir’s astute celebration of the beauty of undeveloped countryside. Framed in wideshots as the sun softens before it sets, the soft lighting subdues the landscape and in classic romcom style, utterly romanticises the fact that the lovers are homeless and bitter. The scenic shots in this film are undeniably beautiful and it is a testament to the two months Cassir and Chamoux spent driving through Bulgaria in search of suitable and authentic natural sets.
Overall, other than the fact that this film is in French and subtitles or a degree of fluency is advisable, you’re not taking a huge risk by watching it because at its core it remains light-hearted and upbeat. That said however, you may just find yourself booking a trip to Bulgaria, Beirut or even Biarritz with your next tinder date.
Be sure to see Our Happy Holiday and a succulent mix of other French content at this year's Alliance Français French Film Festival.