The First Day of the Rest of Your Life Remi Bezancon

As a slightly uneven but mostly cohesive and always engaging familial dysfunction tragicomedy, The First Day of the Rest of Your Life succeeds in presenting the ways that loved ones can hurt each other and the importance of familial or sincere connections at the end of the day. The biggest curiosity of the film is that it never received any form of North American distribution, finding its way onto DVD with no buzz or supplemental features. This is unfortunate, as a movie that preaches the potency of family without getting overly saccharine, and examines the nature of how personal tragedy relates to the formation of identity and perspective without pivoting on contrivance, is rare. Presented structurally as a series of events that take place on five significant days over a period of 12 years (1988 to 2000), with an occasional flashback to smooth over any flaws in logic, First Day examines the love, pain, loss, maturation, infidelities and disappointments of the Duval family. As each day represents a turning point for individual members of the clan, the pic starts with pragmatic eldest son Albert (Pierre Marmai) moving out of the house to attend medical school and ends with father Robert (Jacques Gamblin) coping with mortality and the nature of things. In between these bookends, flower child mother Marie-Jeanne (Zabou Breitman) deals with aging by flirting with infidelity, sluggish brother Raph (Marc-Andree Grondin) enrols in air guitar competitions and lets possible true love pass him by and youngest sister Fleur (Deborah Francois) is destroyed by her first love. With moments of hilarity, such as Marie-Jeanne's decision to take a driving test while stoned, and moments of despair, such as Fleur's subsequent promiscuities as a means of coping with the inability to connect with, or trust, anyone, First Day stages the ups-and-downs of life beautifully despite some occasionally laboured quirkiness. (Seville)