Heal The Living

Here’s a film you can’t accuse of lacking heart, given that it’s about exactly that – the human heart. A boy surfer in a northern French town lies in a coma and his estranged parents have to come together to decide if the doctors can take their son’s heart and give it to another woman, a middle-aged mother in Paris, who really needs it.

The film, by Katell Quillevere and based on a Booker-nominated best-seller, is about connections and life, the random ends that are sometimes neatly tied, but often left dangling. It’s a movie full of beautiful, deeply tender moments, about family and love and desire, all the things that reside in hearts.

But it’s also a forensic medical procedural, and  as such often looks like an upmarket episode of Casualty, or ER, a celluloid organ donor card. Tahar Rahim and Emmanuelle Seigner are among a strong ensemble cast, all of whom Quillevere takes interest in.

Many critics have swooned over the heartfelt compassion and the way the film elegantly swerves being a cliched hospital drama but, although I admire the director’s surgeon-like dexterity, I couldn’t quite marry the sentimentality with the detached detail, the impressive, dream-like visual sequences with the cold hard beeps of the operation table.

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