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Just To Be Sure (A Movie Review)

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Just to Be Sure (Otez-moi d’un doute)


Starring Francois Damiens, Cecile de France, Guy Marchand, Andre Wilms, Alice de Lencquesaing, Esteban, Lyès Salem, Sam Karmann, Brigitte Rouan, Julie Debazac, Loïc Baylacq, Nadège Beausson-Diagne, Heiko Dethier, Hervé Pierre, Emmanuelle Michelet and Aylin Mikaelian.

Screenplay by Carine Tardieu, Raphaele Moussafir and Michel Leclerc.

Directed by Carine Tardieu.

Distributed by Karé Productions. 100 minutes. Not Rated.

Screened at the 2017 Philadelphia Film Festival.

Leave it to the French to make a feel-good, crowd-pleasing romantic comedy about a couple taking their relationship slowly, due to the fear of the possibility of incest.

Ooh la la.

And you know what? Just to Be Sure is a whole lot of fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is a sweet and charming film. The fact that it centers around a massive societal taboo is just a little seasoning.

French comedian Francois Damiens plays Erwan, a man who makes his living as a bomb-disposal specialist, finding long abandoned mines that have been buried in the French countryside since World War II. Despite his exciting, dangerous job, he has a pretty boring life. He is single, doesn’t have many friends and really not much going on in his life. His grown daughter is pregnant and not sure who the father is, so he spends much of his time helping her.

Then two things happen which throw his life into turnaround. First, he comes to realize that his father may not actually be his biological father. He hires a private investigator to look into his mother’s past and comes to believe that perhaps his real father may be Joseph (Andre Wilms), a retired professor who lives not all that far away. Therefore Arwan goes to visit and befriend the old man.

About the same time he is meeting the guy who may be his real father, he also meets the woman of his dreams. He meets Anna (Cecile de France) in sort of the polar opposite of a “meet cute.” On a darkened, stormy road in the boonies, Erwan swerves his car to miss a wild boar that has wandered onto the road. Anna is coming the other way and hits the animal. They both stop to help the poor thing. It turns out that she is a veterinarian, and she puts him out of his misery.

The next day, they run into each other in town, and a romantic spark is lit. Then – quelle horreur! – it turns out that she is the daughter of the guy who may be his real dad.

Talk about wacky complications. Will they be lovers, or half-siblings? Only the geneticist knows for sure.

It sounds like a bit of an oddball storyline – one that could easily be fumbled and made to be sensational, or tacky – but the characters are so likable, and the film is so breezily made that Just to Be Sure is pretty hard to resist.

Obviously, I can’t tell you the secret of the eventual DNA test, but I think you can probably guess what happens. However, either way, the movie is fun and sweet. It won’t change the world, but I think it should do pretty darned well in the arthouse world. I would also not be at all surprised to see an inferior American version of the film in a few years. So, check out the original before the story is ruined with Will Ferrell and Kate Hudson.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2017 All rights reserved. Posted: October 23, 2017.

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