NY/SF International Children’s Film Festival 2011 – Aurélie Laflamme’s Diary Review and Trailer

When it comes to drama, Christian Laurence‘s early teen coming-of-age affair falls partly on the heavy-handed side and partly on the side of giddy charm, a quality not often found in comedies these days, especially ones aimed directly at young teens.

A short summation of the film would be to call it a French version of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid and be done with it, yet the two films are noticeably different.  Whereas Wimpy Kid was aimed more at elementary school kids, Laflamme’s Diary is aimed at the pre-teen girl demographic.

The protagonist in Laflamme’s Diary is a young girl whose social struggles are not that different from most kids, that is, with the exception of dealing with the loss of her dad.  She fights with her best friend, is awkward around the boy she likes, has trouble focusing in school, and wants her very own cute and furry kitten.  The film is mostly told from her point of view, which is the aspect I found to be most interesting.  Her point of view is that of an Alien, as she has convinced herself that her father is in space, traveling, instead of actually dead.  Having this viewpoint easily justified the various animation sequences, which I would otherwise probably find gimmicky.  Here though, they were enjoyable.

My only issue I had with this film were in its drastic tonal shifts.  The awkward orchestration of playful light-heartedness blended with somber Lifetime channel-esque dramatics was not the best recipe for entertainment.  And this shift between the two tones was a constant one.

Due to this, I was unsure who this film was aiming for, but clearly it wasn’t me.  Was it the young pre-teen to early teen audience or an audience for those who favor melodrama?  Maybe, I just didn’t get it because I don’t fall into any of these categories.  After all, I am only a mid-30’s male whose least favorite genre of film is the melodrama, with Pedro Almodovar films being the exception, of course.

With that being said, I am still a fan of cinema and like to think that I can at least appreciate a film, even if I don’t necessarily like it.  As far as this film is concerned, had it stuck to its original whimsy tone of a 14-year-old’s POV while she navigated the waters of teenagedom perhaps I would have liked it a bit more.  Sure, I understand the inherent drama that goes along with an adolescent teen whose father died while she was a young child, but that doesn’t mean the film has to be so tense either.

I can see this film being a great film for parents to take their young daughters to, but other than that I’m not sure I would go out of my way to see it.

Showtimes for Aurélie Laflamme’s Diary: (Director will be in person)

Sunday, October 23rd – 5:30pm (SFFS/New People Cinema)

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