"The Secret of the Grain" won several top awards at the French Academy Awards, and I plan on seeing it again when it is readily possible. There was quite a bit to take in here, in this story of a sixtysomething year old man, fed up with his dull job at a shipyard. Mr. Slimani is divorced and instead of making it strange and detached, he stays close to his family. His plan is to open a restaurant aboard a boat, but the only problem is that his salary cannot pay for such a venture. With the help of his young niece (the excellent Hafsia Herzi), he tries to make this dream a reality, with several complications along the way.
The film was quite involving, especially with the subplots regarding the various family members, including a cheating husband. A scene where his wife ends up blowing up at Slimani about all of her problems was terrific, and I only wish that I made a better mental note about her character name so that I can look her up. This makes my interest in revisiting this film even better. The realism was natural and telling, as a ten minute dinner scene that does not advance the plot, but you really begin to feel a part of the family. I was also massively impressed with the lead-Habib Boufares-who has never acted in a film before. This list of amateur actors impressing me continues after "Simple Things." But I did like "The Secret of the Grain," and intend on seeing it more when it is possible. I feel like things flew past me, which can affect my enjoyment of it-it could possibly grow even more.
**** of ****