One Fine Morning review — Léa Seydoux charms in lovely French film

Original Title: Un Beau Matin | Written and Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve | 112 min | ▲▲▲▲▲ | Crave

A version of this review appeared on the blog from the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival

It’s hard to say something feels like a quintessential representative of a national cinema without sounding condescending or trite — that’s certainly not my intention — but One Fine Morning is so unassailably French in its style and thematic concerns it left me thrilled. Having enjoyed Hansen-Løve’s Things To Come and her recent, Swedish set, Bergman Island, I was still unprepared for how much I adored this picture.

Sandra (Léa Seydoux in what might be a career-best role, looking spectacular a Jean Seberg cut) has a love affair with  Clément (Melvil Poupaud), an old friend of her ex. Complicating matters are the fact that the new man is married with a young kid. All this while Sandra is trying to find care for her father (Pascal Greggory), a former philosophy professor who suffers from a neurodegenerative disease. 

The film isn’t heavily plotted. Sandra and Clément have a passionate courtship, his other commitments and underlying guilt undermine his confidence, he leaves, he comes back. The sex is refreshingly frank and explicit in a way we hardly see in North America anymore — people who find that upsetting are bound to be outraged. Too bad for them.  

Sandra tries to find the best care facility for her father to live that she and her family can afford — this while her mother, played by a spicy, frequently hilarious Nicole Garcia, can’t quite understand why she still cares for a man who she divorced decades ago. 

Occasionally Sandra works as a translator. And we get to hang out in Paris with her and her eight-year-old daughter and watch the seasons change. The film captures the charm of the city without resorting to touristy or cinematic cliche.

One Fine Morning is a picture you wish you could live in because it feels so real, so unadulterated, as it explores themes of fidelity, mortality, and self-sufficiency in a modern space.

Even as it ends on a bit of a sentimental note, I didn’t care because I’d so enjoyed the journey through these characters’ lives. The film is a genuine gift. 

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.