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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Film Review - What's in a Name? (Le Prenom)

By Adam Ruhl

One of my favorite types of films to review is mainstream foreign films that have not yet opened in America. There’s a thrill in being able to draw attention to some really great movies that have been, up to this point, somewhat obscure In this country, often due to something as small as a language barrier.  I hadn’t heard of ‘What’s in a Name?’ until I had the chance to see it and now that I have I’m excited to talk about it.

This is a comedy set in an apartment over a dinner party. Vincent (Patrick Bruel) is an expectant father attending the party thrown by his sister for himself and some of their friends. Things are going well until they start a game to guess what the baby will be named. When Vincent announces the name it snowballs into an evening of revelations, great arguments, and some very funny dialogue. Things get heated almost like ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe’ but with less venom.

The opening reminds me a lot of ‘Amelie’. There are a lot of shots of moving through Paris traffic while a narrator gives us trivia and background information on our characters. Once we settle into the plot the film becomes a filmed play with most of the action all taking place in one apartment. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a new film of this type and I sorely missed the genre. Watching these characters verbally spar with each other is absolutely captivating.  

The film is from writer/director team Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte, based on their 2010 original play. It’s just now opening in America but was released in France over a year ago (a major source of pride for the production is that it opened against The Avengers and had a higher opening weekend gross).

What’s in a Name? opens on VOD (Available on ITunes HERE) and in select theaters including NYC's Cinema Village on December 13th.


French Language

109 minutes

Not Rated

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