There is something innately charming and pleasing about directors Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patelliere’s new movie, What’s In A Name? Just like fine French cuisine, it tickles your taste buds leaving you craving for more.

It’s funny to the core, and delivers on all counts: fine storytelling, believable characters and their journeys, commendable performances and most importantly, an emotional drama that mixes humour with human nature’s imperfections.

What’s In A Name? tells the story of Vincent (Patrick Bruel), a successful businessman who is about to make his fore into fatherhood. Just like any average run-of-the-mill guy who is about to welcome his first born, he is confident yet jumpy and timid yet excited all rolled into one. As his countdown to fatherhood closes in, Vincent is invited to attend a dinner at his sister Élisabeth (Valérie Benguigui) and brother-in-law’s Pierre (Charles Berling) place.

The conversation is pleasant at the beginning as Vincent and party wait for his spouse Anna (Judith El Zein) to grace the occasion. In Anna’s absence – she’s always late, you see – Élisabeth and Pierre together with Vincent’s childhood buddy Claude (Guillaume de Tonquédec) start to question Vincent about what he and Anna are going to name their newborn. Thereafter, What’s In A Name? spirals into a confused, chaotic comedic melodrama that takes things to new levels of fun.

Vincent reveals the name he has chosen for his child and it is so wild, scandalous and unacceptable, that it leads to a family upheaval and triggers revelation of the group’s dark secrets that every family has, but denies.

What’s In A Name is cleverly written to negotiate complex themes of friendship, love and the importance of name. The film will leave you thinking, but only if you can untangle yourself from knots of laughter first.

3/5 stars


What’s In A Name hits cinemas on Thursday July 25.

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