Film Reviews, Short Review

Le Havre (2011)

3/4

Relocating his distinctly Finnish deadpan humour to the French port, Le Havre reveals a touch of Tati to Aki Kaurismäki’s cinema. Given this material, most directors would have drained it for heart-mollycoddling sentimentality, but Kaurismäki tells this story of an aging shoeshiner (André Wilms) and the young Gabonese refugee he takes in (Blondin Miguel) with his characteristic simplicity and straightness, allowing even the film’s most absurd moments of sentimentality to become humorous moments of levity that poke fun at the conventions of melodramatic cinema as much as they forward with the film’s plot. It’s not his greatest work, but Le Havre is an entertaining, funny, and sweet little film from Finland’s maestro of non-emotion.

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