French cinema has a new coming-of-age classic. One of the ten best films of the year!
Marvellous! One of the most astutely observed films about teenagers I've ever seen.
Hip, rowdy, authentic, keenly observed - presents the highs and lows of kidulthood with excitement, humour, energy and embarrassment. This cool, anachronistic euro vision graduates with flying colours!
A fresh, sincere and bitingly funny comedy, a winning debut that makes for big laughs in any language! FILMINK Humour that's so wrong, but OH SO RIGHT!
Smart and raunchy… Funny because it rings true, in any language!
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
What ultimately distinguishes THE FRENCH KISSERS from other contemporary fare is its considerable charm coupled with a lingering sense of innocence… and therein lies the delight of the film. THE FRENCH KISSERS will leave you laughing!
A Gallic American Pie without the sugary taste, The French Kissers serves up slices of male teenage life in all its awkwardness, ugliness, and sexual desperation. Hervé (Vincent Lacoste), 14, has fallen into the geek caste at his local school. Afflicted with braces and acne, tormented by the cool kids and erotic urges, he swaps lingerie catalogues with his heavy-metal freak friend Camel (Anthony Soningo) and fantasises about girls. Hervé gets no relief at home: his high-spirted mother (Noémie Lvovsky) finds it hilarious to embarrass him, teasing him about his mas-turbating, buying tampons in front of him, even following him into a house party to which she has driven him. Then one of the popular girls, Aurore (Alice Tremoilieres), takes a shine to Hervé. And of course, he can't quite believe it at first - the flipside of teen sex mania being the utter fear of females. Will she let him sleep with her? Will her sophisticated friends accept him? What rumours will make their way around the schoolyard? And how will Hervé stuff it up - the stuffing up of teenage first-love being a universal given? The French Kissers puts glorious lie to the assumption that the French are all born with their savoir faire perfectly in place. This is the painfully funny debut film of Riad Sattouf, who has written several graphic novels about adolescence. A massive hit in France, the film catalogues the difficulties of puberty so accurately that it makes you wonder how teenagers even get through the day, what with bullying, humiliation, moodswings and unwanted erections. (You also wonder how their poor teachers put up with them - and as the film suggests, some, tragically, can't.) Sattouf's eye for authen-tic and sordid details is unflinching: a curious eye that opens during a kiss; a urination malfunction; practice pashing on a mirror; the use of socks as a receptacle for semen; and the blind cal-lousness of which 14 year olds are capable. Sattouf deliberately sought ugly ducklings from Paris schools in his casting process and the performances by these first-time actors are all wonderfully natural. Lacoste in particular, with his unforced deadpan presence, is a real find. French cinema has a new coming-of-age classic to go alongside Au Revoir les Enfants and The 400 Blows (you could almost call it The 400 Wanks). Wondering what to go see among the rush of Boxing Day releases? This one's the pick.
Nick Dent, TIME OUT