The French movie, The Fabulous Patars, is our next Shuswap Film Society presentation, an affectionate portrait of the challenges of being a single parent coping with the problems of modern life.
Still mourning the death of his wife, Denis is now that single parent to his daughters, 13-year-old Janine and nine-year-old Mercredi. Devoted but lacking in discipline, he’s doing his best to cope with the girls’ hyperactivity, Janine’s neurological disorder and juggling his two jobs. Overstretched and overwhelmed, he forgets to pick up his youngest child at school (again) and a social worker is called in to assess whether Denis is an adequate parent.
Severine, the social worker, is astounded by the family’s unusual daily routine and gives Denis an ultimatum: enrol in a parenting course, or face losing custody of his daughters. In an effort to hold his family together, he puts his unorthodox child-rearing methods on hold and tries hard to put into practice what he learns in the course, despite resistance from his daughters.
The Fabuous Patars is a well thought out story about the uniqueness of every family and how families can be solid and close-knit even if they don’t fit the cookie-cutter standards of “the system”. The film raises difficult questions about the nature of parenting and asks if love is enough. It’s an intense and endearing movie and, more often than not, funny.
Subtitled and rated 14A, The Fabulous Patars plays at 4 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24 at the Salmar Classic.