Antoine, François Cluzet (“Untouchable”, “Tell No One”) and Laurent, Vincent Cassel (“Child 44”, “Mesrine Part 1”), two divorced fathers and lifelong friends, take their respective daughters, Louna, Lola Le Lann (“A Bluebird In My Heart”, “Addict (TV)”) and Marie, Alice Isaaz (“Elle”, “Smart Ass”) on vacation in Corsica.
There, the seventeen year old Louna falls in love with Laurent and seduces him one drunken night on the beach. He instantly regrets their night together, but Louna, infatuated, does everything she can to make him fall in love with her too.
One Wild Moment is a remake of Claude Berri’s 1977 movie of the same name (that had also been remade in the US in 1984 under the title Blame It On Rio) and could be partially described as a reverse Lolita, where the story isn’t that of an older man preying on a teenager but of a young woman relentlessly pursuing an older man.
Such a plot, that falls into so many unethical categories, can be uneasy to watch, and One Wild Moment, while full of qualities, is indeed not an entirely comfortable viewing experience.
The four main characters and the actors portraying them have amazing chemistry and work extremely well together: the friendship between both the girls and the fathers are believable, but most of all the playfulness and (platonic) love between the dads and the girls feels very realistic.
They’ve all known each other their whole lives and are very comfortable around one another. In that sense, the build-up towards that “one wild moment” on the beach is really well executed.
Instead of having Laurent actually be attracted to the young girl, he just acts as affectionate as a father towards her and responds awkwardly at her advances as if all of it is some childish game, while Louna’s crush (which feels as real and random as any teenage crush) is fed by his (platonic) attention towards her.
Unfortunately, for the plot to take off the line has to be crossed, and this is where the movie starts to step into some uncomfortable territories.
The pivotal scene obviously has to involve Laurent giving in to his best friend’s seventeen year old daughter’s seduction and, no matter the amount of alcohol the character is said to have ingested, the “wild moment” still leaves an unpleasant taste in the viewer’s mouth – a taste that never really leaves.
The movie never seems to actually condemn Laurent’s action, but places the blame as much as possible on Louna, portrayed from then on as a quasi-psycho with zero characterization and personality besides seducing Laurent and torturing him with his guilt.
The use of nudity (solely with Louna’s body) and some suggestive shots of her body only adds to the uneasiness, as if the movie was trying to justify its titular moment.
As the movie progresses with the aftermath of their night together and the secret they now share, the slightly comedic tone of the film tends to make light of the unethical relationship at the heart of it, accentuating the unpleasant feeling that keeps on clinging to the spectator.
Once the third act starts, the situation has already ran for too long to be anything but uncomfortable, and the ending is far from satisfactory enough to finally make our shoulders relax.
Despite all of this, however, the movie still has its moments. The comedy is great when it isn’t directly about the relationship, and the shifting dynamic between the four characters is very engaging to watch unfold.
Most of all, Vincent Cassel’s acting is incredibly good, carrying the movie from start to finish. His main acting partner, Lola Le Lann, is the weakest of the four but never bad enough to ruin the film; François Cluzet and Alice Isaaz are exceptional but regrettably underutilized.
While never repulsive or entirely tasteless, the film suffers from a plot that is sure to make the spectators at least a little uneasy. Without any consummation of the relationship, One Wild Moment could have been a deeply captivating and amazing movie – albeit a slightly different one.
If you could excuse this unoriginal metaphor, see it as a perfectly fine meal accompanied by a glass of very stale wine. The beverage taints the taste of everything you eat, but once you’ve finished your meal you still have the content feeling of a full belly and a good time spent.
I’m not sure the comparison works well, but if you’re willing to look past the inevitable queasiness you’ll feel watching the film, you are sure to still spend an enjoyable moment.