Cannes Film Festival 2023: Virginie Efira as a powerful courageous mother moves the spectators in “Nothing to lose”

“Everything was fine and bam! a fryer!”. VSThis reply that Sylvie (Virginie Efira) launches with exasperation in the middle of the film, Nothing to lose, summarizes in a few words the sudden collapse of a family. Single mother, Sylvie works hard to ensure her two sons a minimum of comfort. But one evening, while she is working in a nightclub, the youngest child burns himself with boiling oil. And everything changes. The social services take over the file and decide to withdraw custody of Sofiane. But Sylvie is not going to let it go.

Selected in the programming ofIn some perspective, Nothing to lose by Delphine Deloget shocked the spectators of the Cannes festival. At the end of the screening, the entire Debussy auditorium rose to cheer the film crew present in the room. “I cried the whole time” entrusts us a spectator.

Descent into hell

For her first fiction feature, documentary filmmaker Delphine Deloget has chosen to focus everything on the characters. “I would like them to be remembered as having existed one day. In documentary, the people we film exist before and after us. In fiction, before us and after us, there is emptiness, nothing. And inevitably, I would like there to be a trace of them somewhere, says the director.

Filmed in close-up without pathos, all imbue the image with strength and conviction. There is Sylvie of course, magnificently embodied by Virginie Efira, whom the camera follows step by step, offering a frantic pace to her fight. With his two sons with funny first names (they are the ones who say it), Jean-Jacques for the eldest (the very convincing Felix Lefebvre) and Sofiane for the little one (first appearance of Alexis Tonnetti), they form a nice trio full of love.

Because, it’s a fact, Sylvie loves her two boys like a wolf. She drops the little one off at school, encourages her eldest for his trumpet audition, but Sylvie is not invincible and when the accident occurs, everything she has built for years crumbles like a house of cards.

Félix Lefebvre, Alexis Tonnetti and Virginie Efira in the film "Nothing to Lose" by Delphine Deloget (Curiosa Films)

social movie

Far from Manichaean speeches to know who is good or who is bad, Delphine Deloget delivers here a social film in the spiral of social services. Before the screening, the actress Virginie Efira confides that she greatly appreciated “the quality of the gaze and the energy of the director”. His character falls and then gets up. A song, a hug, a helping hand, the director manages to dissipate the gray light thanks to wonderfully simple sequences.

Anchored and earthy, explosive and sunny, Sylvie will hang on, look for a new job, fight the judicial machine, show a good figure and above all stay “calme” as everyone advises. But the successive interrogations and the fear of permanently losing her child will gradually make her unscrew.

Around Sylvie, Sofiane and Jean-Jacques, swarms a string of friends, understanding neighbors. Secondary characters who take a central place in the story. Everyone will try to help him, including his two brothers. Hervé, the somewhat marginal, but very tender guy, camped by Arieh Worthalter and Alain, a reformed former casino player, played by Mathieu Demy.

And then of course, on the other side, there is the social worker. Inflexible and cold, Madame Henry (excellent India Hair) also wants the good of the child. When introducing India Hair, Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux reassured the audience:even though she plays the villain in the movie, she’s nice in real life.

When the film was released, some viewers expressed some doubts about the ending: It’s a bit fast, it seems quite unrealistic, a cinephile points out to us. The director chose to leave a glimmer of hope, that’s also cinematographic fiction.

Poster of the movie "Nothing to lose" (Curiosa films)

The sheet

Gender : drama
Director : Delphine Delonget
Actors: Virginie Efira, Felix Lefebvre, Alexis Tonnetti, India Hair, Mathieu Demy, Arieh Worthalter
Country : France
Distributer : ADVITAM
Duration : 1h52
Exit : November 22, 2023

Synopsis : Sylvie lives in Brest with her two children, Sofiane and Jean-Jacques. Together, they form a close-knit family. One night, Sofiane is injured while he is alone in the apartment and his mother at work. A report is made and Sofiane is placed in a home. Armed with a lawyer, her brothers and the love of her children, Sylvie is confident, convinced that she is stronger than the administrative and judicial machinery…

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