Her performance in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds made Mélanie Laurent a French star to watch – and incidentally woke us up to the fact that she was also a writer and director, with an interesting short film called Less and Less shown at Cannes four years ago. Now she has graduated to her first feature, The Adopted, and sadly it doesn't quite come off, despite interesting moments. It has the feel of a 1990s relationship drama, which might remind Brits of the television series Cold Feet. Laurent herself plays Lisa, a single mother in Lyon who has the faintly preposterous job of singing and playing guitar in a club. She is very close to her sister Marine (Marie Denarnaud), who works in a bookshop, and Lisa feels strangely excluded and hurt when Marine begins a passionate affair with a restaurant critic, Alex (Denis Ménochet). Lisa feels this all so intensely because she and Marine were adopted as children, and that fact is to resonate into Lisa's future as fate overtakes them. The Adopted is not sugary exactly, but it has a self-consciousness and soft-focus whimsy that dilutes the flavour.
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