Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr’s SEXUAL CHRONICLES OF A FRENCH FAMILY does exactly what it says on the tin. And, with it very obvious what you’re going to spend the next eighty-two minutes enduring, this is the only film I’ve seen that had no walkouts.
With brother Pierre (Nathan Duval) taking part in multiple threesomes and sister Marie (Leila Denio) remarkably assured in her conquests, Romain (Mathias Melloul) feels left out and unfulfilled. After he is suspended from school for masturbating in a biology class, his parents realise that it may be time they discuss their three childrens’ sex lives in more detail.
A surprisingly comic and dry narrator, Romain is a charming presence throughout who provides a lot of laugh out loud moments and very welcome realistic touches. His affections for classmate Coralie (Adeline Rebeillard) are tender and sweet and it is interesting to see how technology has changed their teenage sexual curiosity.
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However, this is not just Romain’s story, with his Grandfather (Yan Brian) seeking solace in a prostitute since the death of his wife, and his painfully perfect mother, Claire, (Valerie Maes) questioning husband Herve (Stephan Hersoen) over whether she needs a nip and tuck to keep him interested so long into their marriage.
With countless sex scenes – some of which are possibly a little too awkwardly long – the authenticity is impressive and will keep you trying to guess just quite how it’s all simulated. But you’ll prefer spending time with these characters outside of the bedroom and learning about their individual relationships and ideas about sex as opposed to seeing them in the act.
Although patchy in regards to whether it’s soft porn or family comedy, we are faced with characters of interest that have a lot of refreshingly redeeming features. And, although the numerous sex scenes may be uncomfortable for some and definitely do detract from the narrative, the majority of the film is a very fun snapshot of a loving and incredibly close family who simply want to understand and protect each other.