Posted by: fudgie99 | July 14, 2009

Family Pack

family pack1Scene 1- July 10, 1969- Sacha is having a very serious discussion with her mother, explaining how she has quit medical school and is now living happily with a woman- until you realize she is not talking to her mother at all, but to a roomful of friends, who think it uproariously funny when she has her mother drop dead from the news- all except her girlfriend, who feels strongly that she is sick of being a secret. She leaves, giving Sacha an ultimatum to come out to her parents before man lands on the moon.

When Sacha arrives home in Belgium it’s like we have arrived on another planet. Her mother has staged a surprise party for her in honor of her medical degree AND gotten her a job at the local hospital (connections apparently go far in Belgium). In an aside, her mother also lets her know she has a lump in her breast. Her father, it turns out, is hiding all the letters from creditors so as not to upset his wife (who, of course, isn’t telling him she’s sick for the same reason). Her sister Elisa, who happens to be a dwarf, carries around Jimmy, her pet goldfish, in his bowl wherever she goes. To top it all off, her grandmother gets dolled up everyday and waits for the bus to arrive from Paris, looking expectantly for someone who never shows up.

To her credit, Sacha keeps trying to tell her family the truth, but they make it nearly impossible, refusing to listen, especially her mother, who ignores her sister, pinning all her hopes and dreams on Sacha. While watching the news one night she anounces her lesbianism and lack of medical degree in the style of a news report ending with “the moral of the story is- please pass the salt!” They then proceed to go on and on about how salt is bad for you, not hearing (or ignoring) the first part of the message.

She tells her mom again on a day out together where she proceeds to pass out, and then pretends she knows nothing, even as she finds the pictures of the girlfriend under Sacha’s pillow.

This movie was very funny. Everyone had a secret to hide and protected it with quirky sincerity. The resentment and bubbling anger between family members led to some comic scenes. Still, it was moving to realize how marginalized Elisa was, living in Sacha’s shadow, never living up to expectations, feeling less than. Then realizing that their mother also felt she didn’t measure up to her own mother’s ideals. Oh mothers and their lesbian daughters, when will they ever get along?

In the end, Sacha’s friends show up just as Neil Armstrong is ready to walk on the moon, leading to multiple cases of mistaken identity that are hilarious and poignant all at the same time. The ending is happy and light, now that everyone’s secrets are out on the table.

4 stars- call in the U-haul!

“Don’t leave me because of a rocket.”

“should I look like a sundae?”


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