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On My Way
Elle s'en va
★★★☆☆
First run Theater cinema

Riding in on the heels of last year’s acclaimed Spanish/Chilean coming-of-old-age film Gloria, starring Paulina Garcia, comes On My Way; a superior French road movie starring the incomparable Catherine Deneuve.  Deneuve plays Bettie, an aging restaurateur living with her mother in the small town in which she grew up, who hits the road with little idea where she’s going after she learns that her lover has left his wife for younger mistress. The film’s minimal narrative plays like a series of disconnected encounters that end up painting a well-rounded portrait of an intriguing woman. Part of the picture’s appeal is in getting to see Deneuve play a normal, everyday person (all be it one who was a French beauty queen and, now in her mid 60s, has no shortage of lovers and admirers). Still, for this legendary actress Bettie is a fairly provincial character. Though the movie is clearly constructed as a vehicle for the great actress, it’s amazingly free of showboating. This is a low-key character study whose principle pleasure is in watching the mature, slightly self-destructive protagonist observes and react to the people around her. We see how the encounters with strangers, and then with key members of her family, wash over this woman, causing her to reflect on her past, present and future. Deneuve (now 70) looks fantastic and conveys most of Bettie’s personality from behind her eyes as opposed to what she says. Even when the film (and the character) don’t seem to have a clue where they’re going, she keeps us engaged and confident that we’ll be glad we went on the journey. The nearly two-hour movie meanders a bit, and I wish we arrived at the third act a little earlier and a little fresher from the road, but this simple story scores on the strength of Deneuve’s elegant and subtle performance. 

Directed by Emmanuelle Bercot
Produced by Olivier Delbosc and Marc Missonnier

With: Catherine Deneuve, Nemo Schiffman, Gérard Garouste, Camille, Claude Gensac, Paul Hamy, Mylène Demongeot, and Hafsia Herzi

Cinematography: Guillaume Schiffman
Editing: Julien Leloup

Runtime: 116 min
Release Date: 18 September 2013
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color