REVIEW: “Jumbo:” A love story that fails to amuse
Depositing a copy of “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen, mom Margarette (Emmanuelle Bercot) graciously accepts an invitation to meet the new beau of her daughter Jeanne (Noémie Merlant).
Towards the end of her twenties, Jeanne, described by producer Anais Bertrand as “crazy, very sexy and a little autistic”, had already shown her affection for the trinkets she had built by hand in her room to make them. theme park attractions. Now working in the theme park she frequented as a child, Jeanne’s affection for rides turns into a new feeling.
“Jumbo”, Zoe Wittock’s first attempt at directing, begs you to visualize the silky smooth feel of cold metal – the faint hum of a machine coming to life. Jeanne feels it so rapturously in the theme park that the new flame she invites her mother to meet returns that warmth with an assortment of red lights.
The love story begins as Jeanne hand-cleans the new merry-go-round in the park, wiping every expanse of metal and plastic that responds with a flash of light, a spin of seats. She feels something for this machine, which she calls Jumbo because it fits better than her given brand – “it’s not about sex, it’s something else.”
the Something comes in a blindingly white scene, where Jeanne is enveloped in Jumbo’s true essence, her love (and her oil). Her response is sexual gratification, and the openness Jeanne exudes when she shares this new relationship with her mother is immediately stifled.
The mother-daughter relationship is never sincere, with Margarette’s hypersexualized demeanor and the uncensored conversations with her daughter playing for laughs every now and then (if you can handle it). When Jeanne talks to her mother about her feelings for Jumbo, the descent into outright cruelty occurs with every moment of Jeanne’s confused honesty, who tries to make sense of sexuality but doesn’t need an explanation. his partner in sensuality. Suppose Bertrand or Wittock were more careful in building Joan’s character, there might have been something to be gleaned about unconditional support in a parent-child relationship or healthy conceptions of love and sex.
Merlant does what she can with this blank slate, bringing back the light touches and loving whispers of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” while leaving her emotional and literal nudity to the camera’s will and the gaze. from his mother. and men who impose the “right” expressions of sexuality.
The assimilation of a merry-go-round to a lover rather than a giant vibrator is not, however, all drama. French openness to sexuality meets a Jean-Pierre Jeunet quirk that another narrative simply cannot create (which, apparent in this case, is based on a real one). The allusions to comedy are too brief to forget the overwhelming sense of escape that the film invokes and then unknowingly projects onto you, and you find yourself in a void of feeling – the exact opposite of the foundation of this. movie.