It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
Parables are stories about other people that help us live our own lives. The problem with the French film “Ricky” is that the lesson of the parable is far from clear, and nobody is likely to encounter this situation in his own life. That would be pretty much impossible. The story begins in gritty realism, ends in pure fantasy and leaves out most of the alphabet as it makes its way from A to Z.
The story begins with Katie (Alexandra Lamy), a morose French factory worker who has been abandoned, she thinks, by the man she lives with. We flash back to the beginning and see her living with her peppy 7-year-old daughter Lisa (Melusine Mayance) and working in a French chemical factory. There she meets a Spanish worker named Paco (Sergi Lopez), he's warm and attracted, they smile, decide to live together and have a baby.
These events take place in a series of time jumps that are momentarily jolting, but easy enough to follow. Not so easy is what happens to their son Ricky (Arthur Peyret) as he grows up. In appearance he seems at first like an outtake from “Babies,” but then when Paco cares for him at home alone, Katie discovers bruises on his shoulders. Paco is enraged to be accused of child beating and stalks out, explaining Katie's opening scene.
These scenes are absorbingly created and well-acted, and we settle in for a French slice of life. I can hardly deal with any more of the film without revealing details. Here goes, after a spoiler warning.