“L’Auberge Espagnole” Review
An undercooked stew with great ingredients.
This hyperactive film tells the story of a young French man, Xavier, who ventures to Barcelona on a college student exchange program. He leaves behind a devoted girlfriend and a clingy mother for a year-long adventure. Once there, he meets a married French couple who puts him up until he can get a place of his own. That place comes in the form of a crowded apartment full of twenty-something year-old students from every corner of Europe.
And that’s about it.
Nothing ever seems to develop from this scenario. Sure, Xavier has a fling with the French wife, makes some friends, learns the language, goes out to nightclubs and studies for his classes… But the story never seems to go anywhere significant.
The final moments of the film try desperately to explain the message that the previous two hours did not seem to explore. I don’t think the director told the story that he had in mind. ‘L’Auberge Espagnole’ is a wishy-washy mess with a paper thin plot and characters that, although nice on the surface, are superficial and inconsequential.
This is a disappointment considering the cast which includes two of my favorite actresses, Audrey Tautou and Judith Godreche. It has many of the ingredients you would expect to see in a European flavored concoction, but the chef seems to have undercooked the stew. It’s not a bad film… but it is a supremely forgettable one.