SAMBA (2014/15)

Samba migrated to France ten years ago from Senegal, and has since been plugging away at various lowly jobs. Alice is a senior executive who has recently undergone a burn-out. Both struggle to get out of their dead-end lives. Samba’s willing to do whatever it takes to get working papers, while Alice tries to get her life back on track until fate draws them together. – Written by Toronto International Film Festival

This could have been an interesting, nuanced story about the relationship between two people from very different worlds and the profound ethical and social issues of illegal immigration. But it is slow and plodding with no real chemistry between the two leads (Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg) and a superficial exploration of the themes. I’ve never really like Gainsbourg as an actor and found her performance here shallow and unengaging. There are some interesting supporting characters and occasional humorous situations but they are not central to the story of Alice and Samba. It was all pretty bland and didn’t seem to explore the issues deeply enough. Once we arrive at the end, it feels unbelievable and inconsistent with events leading up to it.