Sunday, November 5, 3:30 pm
Rainbow Cinema, Northumberland Mall

Driving Madeleine posterMadeleine, 92 years old, calls a taxi to take her to the retirement home where she will be living. Charles, a disillusioned driver with a tender heart, agrees to drive by the places that affected Madeleine's life. Through the streets of Paris, her extraordinary past is revealed. They don't know it yet, but they will forge a friendship during this drive that will change their lives forever.

  • Cast:  Dany Boon, Line Renaud, Alice Isaaz, Gwendoline Hamon, Jérémie Laheurte
  • Director: Christian Carion
  • Writers: Cyril Gely, Christian Carion
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama
  • Original Language: French (France)
  • Runtime: 1h 31m
  • Rating: Not rated in Canada

Review by Lisa Nystrom

When 92-year-old Madeleine is informed that she’s no longer deemed capable of living alone, she calls down-on-his-luck taxi driver Charles for a ride to her new home in an assisted living apartment across town. What should have been a simple fare becomes something more, as Madeleine tows Charles along on a greatest-hits-tour of her life in Paris, reliving some of her fondest memories and bleakest moments from her past.

Beloved French actress and singer Line Renaud, with her piercing blue eyes and captivating presence, doesn’t so much command the screen as she gently beckons the audience to come sit by her as she spins her tale. As memories weave with revelations, she beguiles the listener, making the near-immediate fondness between Madeleine and Charles (Dany Boon) entirely believable. Between legendary performer Renaud and top comedy actor Boon, both leads imbue their characters with a tenderness and genuine warmth that will have audiences leaving the cinema newly determined to be extra nice to their elderly relatives.

Driving MadeleineThe script is unhurried but never dull, unfolding at a dream-like pace as the cameras wind along the picturesque streets of Paris. Soft swing jazz serves as the background to Madeleine’s grand adventures, a warm and honeyed fade into flashbacks guided by Dinah Washington and Etta James, proving all at once that we’re deep in Madeleine’s own memories and that she’ll embellish them with exactly as much flair as she likes.

A deeply sentimental film, it leans heavily into treacle-sweet nostalgia and is entirely unapologetic for it. The darkness that flits around the edges of Madeleine’s stories can’t be held at bay for long, but even her most shocking revelations are predictable and do little to shake up the journey.

With a cheeky sense of humour and a lot of heart, this is a story about kindness, strength, and the connection that two strangers can make just by opening up and sharing their secrets to a willing listener. Predictable, yes, but all the more enjoyable for knowing the destination, this really is a lovely ride.