Maybe inevitably, La Mif (‘The Fam’, French slang for ‘household’) has drawn comparisons to Sarah Gavron’s groundbreaking 2019 coming-of-age drama Rocks. It definitely has the identical semi-documentarian model and empathetic curiosity in susceptible younger folks on the cusp of maturity. And its origins are related too: Fred Baillif’s workshop-driven script is the product of two years of analysis and improvement, hiring non-actors to inform a fictional story with a powerful foundation in actuality.
However whereas Rocks and La Mif are minimize from related social-realist fabric, Baillif’s movie has totally different motivations. As a substitute of a working-class group in east London, this drama is ready in a Swiss care dwelling for at-risk youngsters, and presents a singular perspective on a frightening social-care disaster — an important arm of the welfare state, largely left under-funded and run by detached center managers.
Baillif, a former social-worker himself, offers roughly equal focus to each the youngsters and the adults taking care of them, and its considerate construction allots every character their very own chapter, with a Rashomon-style breakdown after a key occasion sends the residents of the house spiralling.
A uncooked however deeply nourishing watch.
There are some startling performances from this solid of first-timers — particularly Kassia Da Costa, because the hot-headed however clearly insecure Novinha. Among the many grownup solid, it’s Claudia Grob who stands out as Lora, the den mom of the house; her method is without delay agency and delicate, outstanding in her poise, persistence and compassion. But even she stumbles, when her private life bleeds into the skilled. Even probably the most stable-seeming folks, the movie appears to recommend, are greater than possible coping with some damaged items inside. No one is immune from trauma.
Regardless of this, it’s not at all times an uncomfortable watch: sure, suicide, rape, home abuse and grief are among the many topics tackled, and also you’re not left with a way that there will probably be completely satisfied endings for a lot of of these concerned. However Baillif finds snippets of pleasure among the many gloom — a sequence the place a few youngsters nick an previous bloke’s buying trolley is surprisingly uplifting — and the full of life, energetic performances from the inexperienced solid, lots of them nonetheless school-age, makes for an attractive expertise.
The result’s a uncooked however deeply nourishing watch: by the tip, all of them really feel like members of your personal deeply dysfunctional however genuinely loving household.