La Famille Bélier

Eric Lartigau
Release Year:
Thomas Bidegain, Victoria Bedos, Stanislas Carré de Malberg, Eric Lartigau,
Louane Emera, Karin Viard, François Damiens, Eric Elmosnino |
Louane Emera César Awards, France 2015, Most Promising Actress (Meilleur espoir féminin)
Screening Date:
  • 16 Jan 2018
  • Categories:
    Comedy, Drama, Music

    The Béliers are ordinary people - a loving family with two children. However dad, mum and their son are deaf, so they rely on their daughter to be their ears and voice in the outside world. Rifts occur when a music teacher discovers her beautiful singing voice.

    What's this?
    F-Rated Bronze

    Film Notes

    Last December, Rebecca Atkinson wrote in the Guardian of a boycott of La Famille Bélier in protest at its casting of “hearing actors to play the roles of deaf characters, the result of which is an embarrassing and crass interpretation of deaf culture and sign language”. In the wake of Miroslav Slaboshpitsky’s grim but authentic The Tribe, such a response is understandable, although Eric Lartigau’s frothy comedy about the teenage daughter of deaf parents finding her singing voice has proved a feelgood hit in France, with Louane Emera picking up a César for most promising actress. As Paula, Emera is indeed a winning presence, and it would take a hard heart not to be moved by her rendition of Michel Sardou’s Je Vole, or to appreciate Lartigau’s attempts to convey the musical connection she makes with her parents despite their initial dismay. “Being deaf isn’t a handicap, it’s an identity,” says Paula’s father Rodolphe (François Damiens), a farmer who decides to run for mayor under the campaign slogan “I hear you”, and whose feisty relationship with Karin Viard’s Gigi provides much bawdy comedy. A US remake is, inevitably, in the pipeline.
    Mark Kermode,The Guardian, 13 September 2015
    A crowd-pleasing hit in its native France, La Famille Belier is built on a high, probably Hollywood-bound concept: talented teenage country girl Paula (Emera) dreams of becoming a big-time singer, the twist being that she is the only hearing member of a deaf farming family. It’s broad, predictable, surprisingly bawdy for a family-friendly comedy (Paula has to explain her parents’ sex life to a gynaecologist) and borderline insensitive (Dad wants to run for mayor with the slogan “I hear ya!”). For all that, it emerges as good-hearted. Viard and Damiens make likable parents but the César-winning Emera, a semi-finalist on France’s The Voice, adds a touching centre as the awkward teen who grows in stature. It’s a hard heart that doesn’t melt when Paula figures out how to share her gift with her family.
    Ian Freer, Empire, 4 November 2015.


    What you thought about La Famille Bélier

    Film Responses

    Excellent Good Average Poor Very Poor
    62 (85%) 10 (14%) 1 (1%) 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
    Total Number of Responses: 73
    Film Score (0-5): 4.84

    Collated Response Comments

    119members and guests turned out on the 16th January expecting to see Love and Mercy. (We will be screening it on 8th May.) The bulb in the projector blew and there was no spare available. Two technically skilled members of the committee, Paul James and Michael van Koetsveld (many thanks to both of them) succeeded in putting the GFS stand-by projector in place, but unfortunately it would not play the Blu-ray disc format. Searching through the remaining films for the season already purchased, they found that the DVD of La Famille Bélier would play. A decision was made to go with that. So apologies to all of you for this technical hitch but it would appear your enjoyment that evening was enhanced by showing you the film we planned to be the season finale! 73 provided a response, a hit rate of 61% and has propelled La Famille Bélier to the season’s best so far. Here are a selection of some of your comments. “A beautifully nuanced movie, the lightness of touch of which belies a considerable complexity and depth. The lively humour perfectly counter-balances the teenage discomfort and confusion as Paula’s alarming but loving parents quite literally can’t hear her. The evocation of La France profonde nicely subverted with headphones and digital media and the musical ambitions of the teacher giving us a hint of a Gallic ‘A Star is Born’ and ‘42nd Street’, and in keeping with such traditions, not a dry eye in the house at the finish. Lovely”. “Just to say what a charming feel-good film we had last night as the replacement to the scheduled film. We thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a real tonic in cold January. Many thanks to the team for resolving the problem of the projector so well”. “A film of great charm with better subtitles than usual”. “Wow. Hilarious, heart-warming, heart-rending, tear jerking. Stunning acting. Faultless. Bravo!” 14 comments of “Brilliant”. 5 of “A very nice surprise”. Excellent, even second time around”. “On a cold dark day in January – an evening of sunshine. Quelle Triomphe! OK, it was a little cheesy!” “A brilliant film. I loved it. Very French – particularly the scene in the doctors surgery”. “Thank goodness for a real feel good film at last! More please”. “Such a change to have a happy film! It could not have been made anywhere but France”. “Brilliant film – very French! Great fun and a very interesting scenario. Loved the scenery and music. Excellent acting!” “Trés charmant. I loved the whacky parents and a lovely story. Ahhhh”. A beautifully woven story of a potentially very complex family relationship. Wonderfully “packaged”. Lovely settings and humour and music”. “One of the most uplifting, funny and moving films I have seen”. “I laughed and I cried. Who knew the French could get to me like that!” “Pure pleasure”. “You can do that again. Loved it. Great story, well-acted – fantastic theme”. “Whacky, charming, delightful”. “A delight. (I’d already seen Love and Mercy so a nice surprise)”. “Wonderful. Emotional, Excellent acting. How do you find a young actress who can sing, do sign language and look after cows?” “Completely absorbing, if a little trite in places. Possibly the closest of this season’s films to making us feel that we’re actually there. On reflection, also a very nice and sympathetic way of showing the world of people who are deaf and mute. And it is good to see that someone has already thought of using black-outlined text for subtitles – why can’t they all be like that?” “First of all many thanks to those who got the back-up projector working so we could enjoy this film last night… Having come looking forward to seeing the Beach Boys, this film couldn't have been much different but what an excellent choice of replacement. While you could pick holes in some of the storyline and characters the overall result was a thoroughly enjoyable film. Surprised and slightly disappointed to find out that the "deaf" actors actually have hearing, but they were so convincing it makes it even more remarkable how they played their roles. Many thanks again for getting something for us to watch - hopefully we will see the scheduled film at some point”. “For me the main themes were: a) teenage angst/coming of age and b) the traumas of family life when children (for whatever reason) fly the nest. The issue of deafness was not paramount in relation to these - I (and I would guess most of the audience) was mainly rooting for the heroine to take and pass the audition - and hopefully to win the guy too! It certainly however serves to increase awareness of deafness generally which is a positive thing. The acting was brilliant - especially Louane Emera as Paula; the film was fun, romantic, moving and all-round great entertainment!” “A coming of age movie – for child and parents. Heart-warming and heart-breaking. A silent duet? It worked. An audition with two dimensions – Brilliant. So many moments to remember. Brilliant acting as well”. “Sub titles to sign language – a first- brilliant!” “Great job sorting us with a film after the problems with the projector! Fantastic film – emotive depiction of being a teenager living with a family with a disability and trying to negotiate “teenage life””. “A lovely film. Highlighted so many issues and themes – teenage years, life for deaf people in a world of sounds. The difficulties the hearing daughter felt she had being responsible for her deaf parents”. “Really good – worked as a universal view of children leaving home but also a very particular family whose closeness rose above the deaf/hearing division”. “A beautiful heart-warming story. A unique family, plenty of humour and wonderful singing”. “A great delight and demonstration of how far reaching the handicap of deafness can be”. “Brilliant choice – I haven’t laughed out loud for ages!” Charming vignette, splendidly atmospheric. And the final coup de theatre, singing to sign language was surprising and impressive”. “Lovely film. Enjoyed the singing very much. A feisty quirky family made a refreshing change from other portrayals of disability”.

    We have placed cookies on your computer to help make this website better. For more information please click here

    By continuing to use this site or closing this panel, we'll assume you're OK to continue. You can view our full privacy policy here