Thursday, May 26, 2011

Movie Review: Ricky


Directed by François Ozon
Running Time: 90 minutes
Originally Released: February 6, 2009 (Berlin International Film Festival)

* * (out of four)

Newborn babies are such sweet little angels, aren’t they? Take Ricky, for instance. Ricky is the cherub-like offspring of Katie (Alexandra Lamy), a French factory worker, and Paco (Sergi López), the Spanish man who woos Katie and soon moves in with her and her seven-year-old daughter, Lisa (Mélusine Mayance). Ricky’s arrival puts a mild strain on Katie and Paco’s relationship, but things escalate when bruises mysteriously appear on Ricky’s back and Katie suspects Paco of abusing their son. Paco is innocent, but nobody knows this until an offended Paco has moved out and disappeared. Only then is the true source of Ricky’s bruises discovered: Ricky is sprouting wings.

If you just cocked an eyebrow and muttered a “Say what now?” under your breath, you are probably feeling what I felt prior to watching this film. Unfortunately, you are also feeling what I feel now that I’ve watched the film in its entirety. The premise of the French film Ricky is admittedly intriguing, but the film is even more directionless than the title character, a newborn who flits about in supermarkets when Mommy (rather recklessly, I would argue) leaves him unattended so she can fetch some groceries. I am under the strong impression that writer and director François Ozon came up with a charming but admittedly barebones premise for a movie—what if someone gave birth to a baby that sprouted wings?—and, without knowing what else to do with it, threw together a script and let it fly. Consequently, the tone and pacing of Ricky are all wrong, and the film never feels grounded. My wife summed it up perfectly: “They are taking this idea way too seriously, and yet not seriously enough.”

The gracious part of me wants to view the film as some kind of allegory, but I can’t bring myself sincerely to believe it was meant as such. I tried. I even think there are some obvious interpretations you can consider, especially in light of the film’s final few scenes. But as easy as it is to fabricate an intended message for the film, I just don’t buy it. I don’t think the message was really there. As such, the film leaves one feeling strangely unsettled and unsatisfied with the product as a whole. I’ll grant that Ricky has a lot going for it in terms of teasing one’s curiosity. Woefully, watching the film won’t satisfy one’s wonder.


  1. It's difficult to imagine where this film would go. Nothing comes to mind here.

  2. This reminds me of this freaky play I read where this woman gets pregnant by an angel/birdman and as her pregnancy progresses becomes more and more birdlike. I wondered if the author wrote it while on acid and then thought "what the hell, I'll pretend its symbolic".