A heart-warming 80s-set family drama starring Charlotte Gainsbourg as a recently single mother who finds a new lease of life working for a late night talkback show where she crosses paths with a young drifter.
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“It’s May 10, 1981, and Paris is celebrating. French political junkies might know the cause for this revelry, but for the rest of us, the reason seems to matter less than the electric atmosphere enveloping the streets as people dance to the sound of honking car horns. Grainy, scene-setting archival footage is interspersed with the main action here and elsewhere in Mikhaël Hers’ period piece, which stars Charlotte Gainsbourg as a single mother looking to rediscover herself after being left by her husband. An airy, low-key drama that doesn’t suffer for its lack of narrative tension, The Passengers of the Night further proves the old adage about the journey mattering more the destination.
We first meet Élisabeth (Gainsbourg) at her lowest: unemployed, recently single and responsible for two teenagers (Quito Rayon-Richter and Megan Northam) whose father has walked out on the family. That may sound like the setup for something dire, but Passengers lands closer to the opposite end of the spectrum – gently uplifting without being schmaltzy, and moving without resorting to sentimentality. That’s even true when the narrative shifts to Talulah (Noée Abita), a wayward youth whom Élisabeth brings out of the cold and into the warmth of her home.” — Michael Nordine, Variety