Starring: Clotilde Hesme, Florian Lemaire, Yannick Choirat
Director: Emilie Cherpitel
Running Time: 74 mins
Eva & Leon (L’echappée belle) is a French film about an immature 30 year old woman and a hardened 10 year old boy living in an orphanage who develop an unlikely relationship after a chance meeting in a small café.
For such a short film, there shouldn’t be much expectation on Eva & Leon to provide exceptional emotional power. In that, the film does provide a good level of drama, thanks to great chemistry between the two leads, and although it’s never the most powerful or enthralling experience, it’s consistently engaging, and has a distinct charm that only small indie movies like this can pull off.
Going into this film, I wasn’t expecting much, but I have to give huge credit to the two lead actors, Clotilde Hesma (Eva) and Florian Lemaire (Leon), whose fantastic individual performances and chemistry make this small film so much more entertaining and engaging than anything I could have expected.
The two characters, an immature adult and a mature young boy, are brilliantly played by the two leads, and they make the seemingly bizarre premise feel effortlessly realistic. What’s more is that this film has the best example of chemistry between an adult and a child I’ve ever seen. Granted, it’s a small category, but Hesma and Lemaire play off one another perfectly, and it’s their wonderful chemistry that makes their characters’ relationship so wonderful to watch unfold.
Along with those performances, the dialogue in this film is excellent. It’s may be a small, slow-paced indie film, but the realistic and fantastically casual dialogue helps to make it such a relaxing and enjoyable watch, whilst also cementing the idea that the woman and boy’s relationship is less like a mother-son connection, but more like childhood friends who have known each other for years.
For the most part, this is a very enjoyable watch, and wonderfully easy-going too, however that doesn’t mean it’s a totally successful film. Whilst the dialogue and performances are great, and provide a good, positive vibe, the film definitely isn’t as emotionally captivating as it intends to be.
Leon, the young boy, is an orphan, and the film attempts to bring an extra level of emotional drama in reference to that, but the fact that that doesn’t quite work a great emotional power is why this isn’t such an impressive and impacting film.
Overall, Eva & Leon is undoubtedly an enjoyable watch, and one with a fantastic sense of calm thanks to its casual dialogue and excellent central performances, but it’s never quite as emotionally impacting as it intends to be. It may be small, but there are moments that just don’t land as the film wants them to, so that’s why I’m giving Eva & Leon a 7.2.