The Innocent made its world premiere at the 75th Cannes Film Festival on 24 May 2022.
Following a limited release in France on October 12, 2022 by Ad Vitam Distribution, the film was released in the United States on March 17, 2023, by Janus Films.
This heist comedy has a distinct French aesthetic, is loaded with romance and tragedy while still being eager to amuse.
Abel, an aquarium tour guide who is a little adrift in life after losing his wife, is played by co-writer and director Louis Garrel, who also happens to be from a well-known French cinema family (his father is Nouvelle Vague director Philippe Garrel and his mother is actor Brigitte Sy).
The individuals in Abel's life are the complete opposite of depressed and self-absorbed: his coworker and friend, and perhaps more?
Clémence (Noémie Merlant) is vivacious and impulsive, and his mother Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg), a drama instructor who teaches acting classes in prison, is discovering a new zest for life as she reaches middle age.
She starts dating one of her students, Roshdy Zem, while she's imprisoned, and they later decide to get married, much to Abel's dismay.
Sure enough, Abel's new stepdad hasn't quite separated the words "con" and "ex-con," and the four of them wind up getting involved in a high-profile heist (taking caviar; after all, this is a French movie).
Even though the major subplot she is given – a budding romance between Abel and Clémence – seems a little too overused, it's entertaining to see Noémie Merlant in a lighter role than she typically finds herself.
The last act is fairly tense as things escalate quickly and there are some nutty soundtrack choices (aquarium rumpy-pumpy, anyone?). It is nicely shot and has some easily fantastic compositions and soundtrack choices.
The Innocent, which is caught between Hollywood clichés and European sensibilities, works best when it takes unexpected turns; otherwise, it could seem like a shaggy dog story.
A very French sort of frippery: the kind of caper that doesn’t really linger, but is perfectly entertaining while it’s there.
'The Innocent' cast:
Roschdy Zem plays Michel, an ex-con living in Lyon. Anouk Grinberg portrays Sylvie, a prison theater teacher.
Noémie Merlant as Clémence, Louis Garrel as Abel, a tour guide at the aquarium and friend of Clémence and Jean-Claude Pautot plays Jean-Paul, an associate of Michel.
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