Teen adventure in French Film Festival flick Microbe & Gasoline


Théophile Baquet and Ange Dargent in Microbe & Gasoline.
Théophile Baquet and Ange Dargent in Microbe & Gasoline.

THERE is certainly no lack of content in the male teen bonding sub-genre, with the likes of The Goonies, Stand By Me, American Pie, Superbad and many more on the ever-growing list.

In fact, one may believe the coming of age, sexual awakening, rebelling against authority during those transitional teen years types of stories could possibly be laid to rest for while, with seemingly every angle explored already.

Microbe & Gasoline covers those awkward years between boy and man, first crushes, embarrassing siblings and annoying parents, but director Michel Gondry finds there is still juice left in the tropes.

Gawky 14-year-old Daniel (Ange Dargent), whose slender physique and long hair often leads to him being mistaken for a girl, and bright outsider with a knack for mechanics Theo (Theophile Baquet) strike up a friendship at school.

Their time together is spent building a motorised vehicle they can drive across France to escape their parents.

Adventures, quirky acquaintances and drama inevitably unfold along the way.

Dripping with sincerity, Microbe & Gasoline features a likeable pair of young characters and an appealing, un-obnoxious couple of actors who bring them to life.

It does not dwell on depressing drama, instead allowing the humour shine through, much of which is from their adorable vehicle complete with flower beds under the windows to avoid police suspicion.

While not always a believable story, and sub-plots with the parents are frustratingly brief, it is a beautiful one that leaves the audience with a lasting smile and warm feeling.

Microbe & Gasoline screens as part of the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, which runs from March 16 to April 7.

Go to www.affrenchfilmfestival.org.

THE ESSENTIALS

Microbe & Gasoline (M)

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Starring: Ange Dargent, Théophile Baquet, Audrey Tautou

Four stars

Review by: Julian Wright