Philippe Lioret’s Je vais bien, ne t’en fais pas aka Don’t Worry, I’m Fine (2006)

What if the person you feel closest to would disappear one day without leaving a note? Just like that, without real reason, without explanation. Would you survive to be ripped apart like this?

When Lili returns home from a summer camp and hears that her twin brother has disappeared, she is devastated.  Lili cannot believe it. Her parents tell her that he had a fight with their father and left in anger, just taking his guitar.

Lili cannot understand. He would never leave like this, not call her, not wait for her. She breaks into pieces, doesn’t eat anymore, let’s herself die until she is finally brought to a psychiatric hospital. But that doesn’t help, it is making it even worse. Only when her brother finally sends a post card, telling her not to worry and that he is fine and travelling from one town to the next, she slowly returns to life.

Bookaroundthercorner reviewed the novel by Olivier Adam (not yet translated) on which the movie Je vais bien, ne t’en fais pas is based and mentioned that the movie was as good as the novel. After having read what she wrote I had to see it.

It isn’t easy to write about this movie without spoiling it. Let me just tell you that this must be one of the most moving and touching movies I have ever seen. It is heartbreakingly sad and the ending is not at all what you would expect. It is very well acted. The music is perfect and pulls your heartstrings. It is sad and at the same time it looks at life in a middle class French family, the boredom and the routine but also the dreams hidden under the surface, the clumsy way of communicating and the incredible choices everybody makes. This is a movie that will make you question yourself. What would you have done, how would you have acted and reacted. Each and every one of the four main characters at the core of the story must make decisions, decide whether or not to speak.

Like in most French movies there is also a love story and it is also very touching. As sad as it is, there is a lot of beauty in this movie.

I have to admit that this movie got me all teary eyed which is something that doesn’t happen very often.

The title song of the film has been composed by the French duo AaRON here is their website. In the movie it is said to have been composed by Lili’s bother.

Mélanie Laurent, as Lili, is a really good and very cute actress and also Kad Merad as the father is very convincig. This is the second time I have seen Julien Boisselier in a week (the last time in Les femmes de l’ombre that I didn’t like) and both times I found him very good..

16 thoughts on “Philippe Lioret’s Je vais bien, ne t’en fais pas aka Don’t Worry, I’m Fine (2006)

  1. I’m really happy you liked it.
    Stunning, isn’t it? Thought-provoking. I won’t give away details that would spoil the film for other people but it really upset me and left me with terrible questions, especially as a mother.
    I needed to read the book to see if there were more details about the characters, but there aren’t. The reader is also left with their questions.

    The actors are excellent, Kad Merad had an opportunity to show what he is capable of and Mélanie Laurent is really convincing. I haven’t seen Welcome by Philippe Lioret, but now I want to. I wonder why they changed the first names of the characters. (Lili is named Claire in the book)

    • Maybe he chose the song first. Yes, it is a wonderful movie and thank you for telling me about it. It is difficult to write about anything without spoiling it for others. I think I will watch it again and it could even be better. I’m still tempted to read the book. I saw that Olivier Adam has written a book that A Common Reader (Tom C) found one of the bleakest he ever read, Falaises maybe. It has bee translated and I think I saw his review on amazon.co.uk

      • I hadn’t thought about the song, but you may be right. It’s a good song, btw, it’s been a success in France.
        Honestly, apart from Pennac, Djian (sometimes), Nothomb and maybe Le Clézio can you give me a name of a contemporary French writer who doesn’t write bleak things? And Nothomb is Belgian, that must be why she’s an exception. I’m not talking about crime fiction, just of literary fiction. They all seem to be in a “never-forget-you’re-going-to-die” mood. All writing about cheerful subjects as cancer, death of an infant, disappearance, being depressed, etc…
        Have you ever read Alice Ferney ? I bought a book by her, started to read it and then stopped because she was using an old movie to define her main character and it got on my nerves as I haven’t seen that movie.

        • As a matter of fact, I can. Philippe Delerm who is one of my favourites. Maxence Fermine, Gilles Leroy, Anna Gavalda, Modiano and I could think of a few others. Noelle Chatelet, Grimbert, Desbiolles. I also love Marie Desplechin. Philippe Jaenada. Not all on the same level but still.

          • I haven’t read Delerm since “La première gorgée de bière” that I found nice but nothing more. A bit easy like a guide book for happiness. Maybe this isn’t representative of his work and I’d like what he wrote later. I’ll check.

            I had forgotten Gilles Leroy, Alabama Song was beautiful. You’re right to remind him to me.
            Modiano doesn’t speak to me.

            Anna Galvalda is like Katherine Pancol. Her first books were real page-turners, nice and sensitive. I couldn’t finish the last one, I got bored. But like Olivier Adam, she won’t last.

            I’ve also read Un secret by Grimbert, which I liked. It was well written and a good story but not really optimistic either.

            I have to try the other ones, so thanks for the tip. It’s good to know.

            What I meant is that they often lack of sense of humour. You can tell terrible things with humour. I’m not saying I want to read cheerful stories all the time. But whenever I read a literary review on a praised French author, I finish the article thinking “I don’t want to read this”. Or maybe I must change of magazine. I’m ready to change my mind.

            • I get all my tips for French authors from German magazines. I tend to browse them much more than any other as the range is absolutely stunning. Plus the Swiss NZZ. I never look at the Goncourt winners and the like but like to have a look at the Prix Femina and the Prize for First novel. That is how I discovered Dancourt (I did review him). I bought a few suggestions I got from French reviews and often they were exactly the type of novels you mention that I d not like either. Yeah, lack of humour. Jaenada is funny, but maybe he won’t last. I loved Delerm’s Autumn about the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. La première gorgée de bière is nice, but noting like Autumn.
              I trust the German editors to pick the best and the taste of the German public doesn’t go towards too gloomy. I do lag behind like this but that doesn’t matter. I don’t have to be the first to read something. I’m pretty fast with German authors normally and English and American, That’s enough. Grimbert isn’t too joyful but not depressing. I love Modiano. For years I read every book when it came out. Litlove speaks with high praise about Marie Ndiaye. I need to read her. But generally I read rather more francophone literature that isn’t French but Canadian, African or Carribean.

  2. I couldn’t really imagine how the movie goes, you really didn’t write anything to prevent spoiler 😉

    How come it becomes so sad? She finally knew where her brother is, right?

    • It seems I have successfully avoided all spoilers and left out most of the story altogether :). She starts looking for him, that is all I can say. But it is sad from the beginning when she doesn’t hear from him and thinks she cannot go on living. It’s really tricky to write about it because it would ruin a lot to be more explicit.

  3. I cry way too easily at films, which is embarrassing in an all-male household where I get looked at askance (‘You’re not going to cry AGAIN?’). So this sounds just too poignant for me. But I am always glad to think that contemporary writers and film makers are producing sensitive and intelligent book adaptations!

    • I can picture the scene vividly and can also very well imagine that this movie wouldn’t leave you unmoved. It has a lot to say about loss, families, family secrets. I had a hrad time watching the hospital scenes which I could have descrbed in more detal witout spoiling anything but then I would have gone over board. I am curious to read Olivier Adam although a bit anxious some of his books might prove to be too depressing.

  4. French movies: love stories. American movies: special effects car crashes. Now you know why I’d rather watch French movies so often! Thanks for this review, Caroline; I hadn’t heard of this movie before, but now I will keep my eye out for it.

  5. This sounds good, though I tend to be emotional when watching sad movies–I wonder if Netflix has this. By the way, I did see Heavenly Creatures–very good, but very very disturbing!

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