The conventional story in romantic comedies usually regards the triumph of love over challenges, and the film often ends before the lovers’ everyday life begins. Other People’s Children tells the same story from a different perspective: a new love becomes an integral part of an already established life. At the core is a dynamic, familiar to many people starting a new relationship as adults: a new love comes with new family members.
Virginie Efira (e.g. Benedetta, 2021), who in her forties has become one of the most sought-after actresses in French cinema, is magnificent as Rachel, a Parisian teacher who has everything going for her: a rewarding job, loved ones, meaningful hobbies. Rachel isn’t exactly looking for a relationship, but when love strikes, she opens her heart, not only to her new partner Ali but also his four-year-old daughter Leila. As their relationship deepens, Rachel grows attached to Leila as if she were her own child – while becoming increasingly aware of the inevitability of her biological clock. The stepmother role is not an easy one, even if she also has a good relationship with Leila’s mother. Can Rachel trust that she has a permanent place in Ali and Leila’s lives?
Director Rebecca Zlotowski says that she drew on her own experiences for Other People’s Children. This personal touch is undoubtedly the film’s greatest strength.
A graduate of the prestigious La Fémis film school in Paris, French writer-director REBECCA ZLOTOWSKI’s (b. 1980) film career has been booming for over a decade already. She won the prestigious Louis Delluc Prize with her debut feature Belle Épine (2010), which premiered at Cannes, and continued her collaboration with star Léa Seydoux in Grand Central (2013), which also won several awards. After Planetarium (2016), starring Natalie Portman, and the youth film Une fille facile (2019), she turned to television with the political miniseries Les sauvages (2019). With her new, personal Other People’s Children (2022), Zlotowski was included in the Venice Film Festival’s main selection.