In Brest, Sylvie, a waitress, raises her two children alone, Jean-Jacques, a teenager who is looking for his way, and Sofiane, younger. Between very late returns due to work at night, extended parties, and various absences, she often leaves her children to their own devices, and an accident ends up happening: Sofiane burns herself quite seriously in their apartment.
This marks the beginning of a legal spiral for Sylvie: alerted, the child protection social services investigate her pace of life and her way of educating her boys, and the sanction falls: Sofiane is temporarily placed in a home. Judging that this decision is a judicial error, Sylvie protests, and will undertake a long battle to get her child back…
Lack of a balanced vision
This story, although it turns out to be very well played, notably by Virginie Efira in the main role, still poses some interpretation problems as it lacks a balanced vision. Which probably explains why it can divide spectators. Because the director of “Nothing to Lose” – unveiled in August at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival, Delphine Deloget, clearly takes the side of the mother in her confrontation with social services, to the extreme.
We can, like her, consider Sylvie’s struggles to get her boy back as a blatant injustice, as she can seem cornered by the difficulties of raising two children alone. And support this “mother courage” in her fight, which can be seen as a social revolt against a modern society which does not know how to help those who need it most.
But we can also, with what the director shows us in certain sequences, see Sylvie as a neglectful adult, who completely ignores the well-being and desires of her children. And, even worse, as a toxic mother, who maintains an abusively close relationship with her youngest son which, if we project ourselves – which the film is careful not to do -, will not do him any favors and could affect him lasting psychologically.
As such, far from moving us, the portrait of this mother, absent most of the time and taking real action when she realizes that she could lose custody of her son, can revolt us. So, when she yells to the social services worker about Sofiane being placed in a foster home, “he’s not doing well, I need to see him, when will I see him?” “, we want to retort that it didn’t bother her not to see him when he was already not doing well when she left entire evenings alone.
An unflattering portrait of the social services investigator
In the same way, we definitely do not agree with the director who composes a portrait as cold as it is unpleasant of the same social services investigator – fantastically played by India Hair, thus passing for the villain of the story. While she only has one objective: to protect a child. Which doesn’t always seem to be his mother’s concern.
Of course, not everything is rosy in the field of child protection, and we would have loved it if the film balanced its message and showed the limits and weaknesses of both sides. She prefers to take sides, without nuance, in an extreme way until a fairly repulsive finale which will leave a more than bitter impression on those who had to deal with neglectful and toxic parents.
“ Nothing to lose “, French drama by Delphine Deloget, with Virginie Efira, India Hair, Félix Lefebvre, Arieh Worthalter, Mathieu Demy… (1h54).
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
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