A Tout de Suite

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
A Tout de Suite Movie Poster Image
Privileged girl runs with bank-robber boyfriend.
  • NR
  • 2005
  • 95 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Bank robbers on the run.

Violence

Mostly implied.

Sex

Sexual situations, brief frontal nudity.

Language

In French with subtitles.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking, smoking, and drug use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the movie follows a 19-year-old Parisian art student as she experiments with sex and adventure outside her bourgeois background. With her parents barely visible, she is mostly left on her own, having casual sex with a girlfriend, drinking, and falling in love with a Moroccan bank robber. Following a caper where a couple of people are killed, the couple goes on the run. The film features mostly (off-screen) violence, sexual situations, brief frontal nudity (male and female), and language (in French with subtitles).

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What's the story?

In A TOUT DE SUITE, Nineteen-year-old art student Lili (Isild Le Bresco) lives with her father and older sister in an upscale Parisian flat. Resentful of her mother's absence and feeling bored, she falls in love with a lovely young Moroccan man, Bada (Ouassini Embarek), as soon as she spots him at a café. Soon, she's sneaking him home at night. It's 1975, and the world seems wide open. One evening, Bada calls to tell her he's in a bank, where he and an accomplice are holding hostages. Cops surround them, a couple of people are dead, and he promises he'll try to call again. She then agrees to run off with Bada, his hotheaded accomplice Alain (Nicolas Duvauchelle), and Joelle (Laurence Cordier). When he worries that he and Alain are now "killers," Lili presses him for details, mostly to assuage his guilt. Did he actually do the killing? Lili sets out with the fugitives, who travel by train and ferry to Spain, Morocco, and Greece.

Is it any good?

The beautifully filmed, smartly edited A TOUT DE SUITE revisits nouvelle vague aesthetics and rebelliousness. Based on Elisabeth Fanger's memoir, When I Was 19, Benoit Jacquot's film reveals Lili in bits and pieces, mostly wordless. Restless camera shots alternate between sensuous close-ups and evocative long shots, while Lili's voiceover (reading from her journal) lets slip feelings she doesn't quite understand. "I don't know if it was the true life," she muses. And yet she plunges ahead.

Lili's comprehension remains limited, at least as far as she can express it. Her observations are at once weirdly poetic and bland ("We stayed in Tangiers first," she notes, "They say it was the best hotel, and I believe it"). Whether or not Lili finds her way to self-awareness is open to question. But the movie offers haunting images, tracing the rhythms of self-delusion and the wondrous powers of desire.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the girl's sense of boredom. She writes in a journal, but resists her father's efforts to engage her interest and resents her absent mother: how might the family talk through Lili's anger? How does her sudden affection for her boyfriend suggest she is acting out? How might she channel her feelings in other ways? Why does the "exotic" bank robber seem attractive to her?

Movie details

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