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The predictable French feelgood tale proves more charming than expected thanks to excellent performances across the board.

I pretty much knew from the trailer the exact story La Brigade was going to tell: a heart-tugging tale of a single-minded chef who is taught a life lesson by the band of misfit immigrants she ends up sharing a kitchen with. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Though the French film is far from perfect, as it mostly skims over character development, rushes important plot points and builds towards a climax that stretches believability mightily thin, La Brigade has good intentions to spare and successfully coasts by on them for the most part.

Another reason I'm willing to forgive director Louis-Julien Petit for underdeveloping a picture with a promising premise is that he does coax excellent performances out of lead actress Audrey Lamy and a swath of young supporting actors who all bring plenty of charms to the film.

Ask me again in a fortnight and I might no longer be so generous to La Brigade, but for now I'll give the picture the benefit of the doubt and proclaim it a severely flawed but thoroughly entertaining night at the movies.

release: 2022

director: Louis-Julien Petit

starring: Audrey Lamy, Fraçois Cluzet, Chantal Neuwirth, Fatou Kaba


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