<i>Le Garçu</i> begins as an exploration of Gerard’s difficult emotional relationships with his son Antoine, his former wife, his current wife Sophie, from whom he is separated, and a recently acquired lover. Centering on the triangle with Sophie and Antoine, the dynamics and geometry of Gerard’s emotional life remain inexplicable for three-quarters of the movie as they continually shift and deteriorate. Gerard strives clumsily and obsessively to keep his son’s affection while ruining his marriage to Sophie, who eventually takes up with his best friend, Jeannot, his erstwhile companion in skirt chasing.
The new triangle of Gerard-Jeannot-Sophie continues to operate in a dysfunctional way until a call comes that Gerard’s father, “le garçu,” is dying. Sophie and Gerard rush to his bedside in a small country village. There Sophie’s grief is contrasted with the blocked affection between father and son, and at last the motivational forces behind Gerard’s disastrous emotional life reveal themselves. This revelation, however, does not lead to salvation, nor even an improvement in the lives of the main characters, who go on as self-destructively as ever.
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