It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
One of the worst problems a teenager can experience is being identified as having a problem. Because all teenagers are by definition lonely, restless and misunderstood, adults tend to want to repair them. This leads to hurt feelings all around. Kids who may just be going through a stage are identified as having a condition, and they begin to seem, even to themselves, like chronic case studies.
“A Nos Amours” is a movie like that, about a young girl who is raised in a family that is so obsessed by her sex life that she seems almost destined to fulfill their fears (and expectations) by becoming promiscuous. The movie was written and directed by Maurice Pialat, a Frenchman who specializes in the close observation of the way people behave toward each other. In “A Nos Amours,” he takes us inside the family of a tailor in Paris.
The parents were born, raised and married in Poland, but left for the West, apparently after much suffering. They work in the home. They have two children - a son in his 20s, Robert, who is fussy and effeminate and a bit of a bully, and a daughter, Suzanne, who is 16 and in love with her first real boyfriend.
There is great emphasis in the house on Suzanne's behavior. Her comings and goings and dates and hours are closely scrutinized, and the parents make it clear that the objective of dating should be marriage, and the bride should be a virgin. This advice is accompanied by cross-examinations, shouting scenes and much slamming of doors.