Following a series of shorts released over the years, director Maxime Roy’s first feature film The Heroics (Les Heroiques) is now premiering with a special screening at Cannes. A story about fatherhood and the fragile links that hold people together, the work captures the struggle of fulfilling day-to-day chores and honouring one’s duties in a world that leaves no room for expressing or digesting emotions.
Michel (Francois Créton, who also co-wrote the script) is battling an addiction problem that keeps him from getting back on his feet and makes it hard for him to maintain his already shaky relationships. A lover of motorcycles and tattoos, he often hangs around with his son Léo, an aspiring rapper in his late teens. He frequently lets the youngster down, however, by being unreliable and relapsing into substance abuse when overwhelmed by life’s trials.
Once a week, Michel picks up and spends the day with his other son, a toddler born out of a relationship with an ex partner named Hélène. The shabby surroundings of his flat accentuate his ineptness as he tries to be a dependable father and not repeat the same mistakes he made with his firstborn. Michel’s unemployment, coupled with his inability to meet his responsibilities, continue to fuel the disapproval of Hélène; of Léo and his mother; and of Michel’s own father, who is terminally ill. As the protagonist tries to mend all his relationships, it seems that his good intentions may not be enough to get his life on track.
The Heroics is at its best when depicting the different shades of the relationship between father and son. It is evident that the complex bond has at its core a strong desire for connection, but that it is wrapped in layers of disappointment and longstanding resentments. The film holds a lot of potential to present an emotionally charged narrative, but the promise remains unfulfilled as the action lags and the story never really picks up momentum. Nevertheless, the solid performances of the cast and the moments when the characters’ deeper emotions transpire make the viewing worthwhile.
The Heroics does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.