Departure (2015)


Departure Storyline

An English mother and her teenage son spend a week in the South of France breaking up a summer home that has become one of the casualties of the boy’s parents’ crumbling marriage. Matters only become more complicated when an enigmatic local boy enters their lives.

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Departure Movie Reviews

A powerful yet subtle film

Not many directors start their full-length future film careers with powerful films. The few examples I can think of include Jean-Luc Godard with his ‘À bout de soufflé’ (‘Breathless’), Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ‘Amores Perros’, Gus van Sant’s ‘Mala Noche’, Larry Clark’s ‘Kids’ and Xavier Dolan’s ‘I killed my mother’ (‘J’ai tué ma mère’). And now there is another one on my list: Andrew Steggall’s ‘Departure’.

Elliot (Alex Lawther) and his mother Beatrice (Juliet Stevenson) are vacating their holiday home in the south of France. As they are packing, a picture unfolds. Once happy times don’t seem so happy anymore. Could the absent husband be part of the problem? It is not that simple. We gradually get to know the mother and her son. Beatrice’s life is slowly crumbling away, while Elliot, on the other hand, seems to be living in his own world. Elliot meets a French lad, Clément (Phénix Brossard) a few years older than him and develops a crush on him. Both boys have issues to deal with, influencing their friendship. When Elliot’s dad arrives, matters come to a point.

This film has several strong points: The cinematography by Brian Fawcett is outstanding, be it of the forest and river landscapes, or indoor scenes. I found the acting excellent; special mention must be made of the powerful performances of Juliet Stevenson and Alex Lawther. My only negative comment is that the editing could have been a tad tighter, particularly regarding the underwater footage that seems to be over-emphasized. This is only a minor issue and has no serious impact on this rewarding film. I am looking forward to Andrew Seggall’s next film. I score ‘Departure’ an excellent 8/10.

A thoroughly enjoyable sensitive and intelligent tale of boy meets boy in rural France

Excellent film. Beautiful backdrop of rural Languedoc in autumn, natural peaceful and unspoiled whilst the lives of the characters portrayed are anything but. I do not agree at all with those reviewers here who give the movie a panning. I thought it was very sensitively handled and there was a lot of authenticity and insight into young Elliott’s first gay fumblings.

Yes, some bits of dialogue and screenplay were a bit clunky and wooden, especially when the father arrived towards the end of the film. But I really enjoyed the interaction and exploration between the two young men: lonely young gay English lad bored with his mother on holiday bumps into sexy athletic moody young Frenchman , OK you could say it is ‘cliched’, but so much of our lives are unoriginal, but no less exciting when it happens to us for the first time at that age. I saw a lot of myself in Elliott.

One of the most enjoyable gay movies I have seen in a long time. And the fact there was very little sex in it was not a problem at all. It improved the narrative. Less is more in this case. Well done Andrew Steggall.

Juliet Stevenson shines in this brilliant drama

This is a simple story that has so many layers that it becomes completely complex. Beatrice (Juliet Stevenson) is going through a marital crisis and she has brought her son – Elliot (Alex Lawther ‘X and y’) to help her pack up their idyllic summer home in rural France; it having become another victim to the relationships deterioration. Then Elliot sees a local lad swimming in the reservoir – which is strictly not allowed – and decides he has to get to know this boy better – a lot better.

This is Clement and he is a force of nature , all emotion and rough hewed charm and his arrival makes the simple act of closing down one part of their lives become more about opening up what – until then – had remained closed off in their lives.

This is beautifully filmed and acted to perfection. It is almost painfully honest in places and the raw emotions are both riveting and almost repulsive in equal measure. This is a film that seems to take its time but it really doesn’t it is strong and measured and the characters seem completely real. The depth of the story is as complex as reality often is and strikes home all the more forcefully for it. In short this is an absolutely stunning film that is worth all the plaudits and more.