My Life on Ice

"Very Good"

My Life on Ice Review


It's Etienne's (Jimmy Tavares) 16th birthday, and his doting, widowed mother (Ariane Ascaride) has given him the gift he most wanted: a camcorder. So begins My Life on Ice, an unusual coming-of-age story set in the provincial city of Rouen, France that includes several French twists along the way.

All we see of Etienne's world is what he shows us through his cinema verite viewfinder. In fact, we see little of Etienne himself until he gets his hands on a tripod and discovers the remote control gadget in the bottom of the camcorder box. He takes the camera everywhere he goes and uses it constantly, taping his town, his horny schoolmates, and his training sessions at the ice rink, where he practices hard to maintain his national ranking in figure skating. He even tapes his mother every time she emerges from the bathroom so he can chronicle all of her frilly lingerie. (This being France, she has a lot of it.)

But Etienne has a problem: He's increasingly sure that he's gay (a fact he records in one of his diary-like taping sessions), but he chooses not to confide in anyone. Instead, hormonal teen that he is, he develops a series of ill-advised crushes. Camera in hand, he relentlessly questions his suave and dashing best friend Ludovic (Lucas Bonnifait) about his burgeoning sex life. The vain Ludo, who should be able to figure out what's really on Etienne's mind, loves the attention and prattles on about his conquests, never realizing that Etienne likes to get up close with the camera and lovingly zoom in on his elegant profile.

More dangerous is Etienne's infatuation with his geography teacher, Laurent (Jonathan Zaccai). The pressure mounts when Laurent becomes Etienne's mother's boyfriend, and the threesome head off for weekends at the beach. Laurent notices that Etienne is fond of making long pans across his body with the camcorder; he knows that something is up. But like Ludo, he's most interested in humoring Etienne, even after Mom finally puts her foot down and demands that Etienne turn off that damned camcorder every once in a while.

Of course, Etienne can't. He's hiding, and the only place he feels comfortable is behind the viewfinder. By becoming the cinematographer of his own life story, he tries to detach from his life and feelings and turn himself into a dispassionate narrator of his own story. Even though he realizes that someday the batteries will expire or he'll run out of tape, he chooses not to worry about that in the present.

In an American version of this film, there would likely be a horrifying gay-bashing or a stunning confession at the Christmas dinner table, buy My Life on Ice directors and writers Olivier Ducastel and Jaques Martineau are more subtle, sacrificing obvious plot points for a kind of ambivalence and subtlety that feels very natural. They're helped greatly by Tavares, who was hired not for his acting (he was a first-timer) but for his skating. He gives a loose-limbed and utterly winning performance, and as it turns out, he's a pretty good videographer, too. Luckily, Etienne is granted a happy ending of sorts, but it's clear that at age 16, his journey is just beginning.

Aka Ma Vraie Vie à Rouen.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 26th February 2003

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer:

Starring: as Étienne, as Caroline, as Laurent, Hélène Surgère as La grand-mère, as Ludovic, Frédéric Gorny as L'homme de la falaise, Nicolas Pontois as Le copain patineur, Frédéric Sendon as Le client de la librairie

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.