France - - Contents - Pierre de Vil­liers

François Cluzet plays a coun­try doc­tor fac­ing a cri­sis, in Ir­re­place­able.

Star­ring: François Cluzet, Mar­i­anne Deni­court Di­rec­tor: Thomas Lilti Cer­tifi­cate: TBC Run­ning time: 102 min­utes Re­lease date: 13 Jan­uary

There is no­body bet­ter in France to write and di­rect a film about the life of a doc­tor than Thomas Lilti. As a for­mer GP, the 40-year-old is aware of the pres­sures, emo­tions and frus­tra­tions of don­ning the white coat. This in­ti­mate knowl­edge of the pro­fes­sion shines through in Ir­re­place­able, a poignant and of­ten amus­ing char­ac­ter study fea­tur­ing an­other fine per­for­mance by François Cluzet.

The vet­eran ac­tor stars as Jean-pierre Werner, a doc­tor who trav­els around the French coun­try­side mak­ing house calls and go­ing the ex­tra mile to help his pa­tients. When he is di­ag­nosed with a se­ri­ous dis­ease, his own physi­cian tells him to take things easy to cope with his up­com­ing treat­ment. Werner in­stead throws him­self into his work, but is forced to face up to his ill­ness when the hospi­tal sends newly qual­i­fied doc­tor Nathalie (an im­pres­sive Deni­court) for him to train as a re­place­ment. With a prickly Werner in no mood to hand over con­trol, the two have some­how to find com­mon ground to work to­gether.

From the open­ing mo­ments of Ir­re­place­able, it is clear that both di­rec­tor and lead star are mas­ters of sub­tlety. When Werner is given the bad news about his ill­ness, he copes by tun­ing out the words of his doc­tor and fo­cus­ing on a small stain on the man’s coat. Here is some­one clearly look­ing for a dis­trac­tion from the harsh re­al­ity of his life. The scene sets the tone for a film that never over­plays its hand and marks Lilti as a tal­ent to watch.

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