Imbued with the languid atmosphere of human connection, and moving (mostly) to the rhythm of fine classical scores, Just To Be Sure is like a psychological reprieve from the cascade of horror movies seen in the last season. No psychopath or allegory distracts from witty lines and mellow performances; no car chase or manipulator disrupts real feelings and delicate situations. In other words the latest feature by Carine Tardieu is a delight.
Set in an unnamed French town near a quarry heavily littered with ammunition left over from WWII, the story follows Erwan (François Damiens), a 45-year-old bombs-disposal expert who, in urging his pregnant daughter, Juliette (Alice de Lencquesaing), to hunt down the one-night stand responsible for her unborn baby, realises his own dad (Guy Marchand) is not his biological kin.
Findings by a private detective send him to elderly Joseph (André Wilms), who turns out to be the father of Anna (Cécile De France), the beautiful doctor for whom Erwan has just fallen. Any joy of reuniting blood ties is diminished by the pain of prohibited love.
Working with a feather-light touch and craftsmanship, Ms Tardieu makes this tragedy a tender, heartfelt tale, whose characters the audience will care about. Packing up after a picnic, Anna — hitherto unaware of their possible sibling-relationship — is disappointed by Erwan’s cold awkwardness, until he bundles her into his arms, revealing the silent anguish.
Yet, this is a film that is not only about romance; it also raises questions about natural and nurturing parents, which of them is more important? and does it matter?
Here, Erwan’s adoptive father, upon discovering his son’s association with Joseph, instead of becoming an embittered manipulator, is gracious in the acceptance of reality.