katrinaolson.ca - KO Review of Being 17 (Quand on a 17 ans)

Posted on Friday, December 02, 2016 at 06:30 AM

KO Review of Being 17 (Quand on a 17 ans)

Review by Katrina Olson-Mottahed x CalgaryMovies.com

Being 17 is a film about two 17 year old boys: Thomas (played by Corentin Fila) and Damien (played by Kacey Mottet Klein). The two boys go to school together, and become connected through their mothers. Damien’s mom, Marianne (played by Sandrine Kiberlain) is a general practitioner doctor who visits her patient who is Thomas’ mom Christine (played by Mama Prassinos). Damien’s father is in the french army abroad, and it is unclear where Thomas’ dad is. Thomas lives with his step father and mother in the mountains one and a half hours away from the school the two boys attend.

After Marianne (Damien’s Mom) treats Thomas’ moms infection, she discovers Christine is pregnant and will need to be hospitalized close to the boy’s school in town. Marianne offers to Christine for Thomas to move in with her and Damien because of his 3 hour travel to the country side and back for school making it difficult for him to complete his assignments on time. Thomas loathes Damien, the two boys constantly have verbal or physical conflicts at school. Thomas doesn’t want to move in with Damien’s family but Christine believes it would be better for Thomas and agrees with Marianne that he will stay with them.


There is something so beautifully raw and emotionally liberating about French contemporary cinema at the moment. The director of Being 17; Andre Techine is known as one of the best new wave french directors contributing to this genre. Being 17 is an exploration of masculinity and sensitivity at an age of uncertainty. A coming of age romantic drama explored in a way that is almost poetic. There is very little character development other than what the two boys tell their mothers about each other. There is a lot of deep stares, tension building and then the crescendos where the conflict erupts.

The film is divided up into trimesters as the story unfolds over the 9 month period of Thomas’ mother’s pregnancy with his step-sister’s birth toward the end of the film. I loved the story and exploration between the maternal relationships in this film and the very strong sexuality that developed in both Damien and Thomas moving through the film. The bonds of love, friendship and how they develop over the 9 month period are both beautiful and volatile at such a young age, when people are just figuring out who they are.

In typical french new wave fashion, this film contains a lot of red wine consumption, minimal smoking and a healthy dose of nudity, so I would recommend Being 17 to a mature audience. If you love Blue is the Warmest Color, Mommy or It’s Only the End of the World, you will probably LOVE this film. Being 17 is lighter in mood but just as sexually charged.

Being 17 opens Friday December 2, 2016 in theatres at Calgary’s Cineplex Eau Claire, Ottawa’s Cineplex South Keyes, and Halifax’s Cineplex Park Lane, as it begins an expansion across Canada.

Calgary Showtimes: Being 17 (Quand on a 17 ans) >

BEING 17 premiered earlier this year at the Berlin International Film Festival to outstanding critical reviews, and is was a hit in France at the box office, earning over $1 million since its release on March 30th.


NOTE: The showtimes listed on CalgaryMovies.com come directly from the theatres' announced schedules, which are distributed to us on a weekly basis. All showtimes are subject to change without notice or recourse to CalgaryMovies.com.