There’s a place where romantic fairy tale meets French bedroom farce, and where campy inside jokes about gay and Jewish stereotypes collide. This is the place where Mikael Buch’s new film Let My People Go! sits – or, rather, where it luxuriates on a vintage chaise lounge.
The story of Reuben (Nicolas Maury) and his return home right before Passover to his high-strung Parisian family after being dumped by his Finnish Adonis of a boyfriend is a brighter-than-life tale of reinvention and reconciling the different parts of one’s identity. Reuben is welcomed back from Finland by his mother (Almodovar-collaborator Carmen Maura) and the rest of the family just in time for Passover.
The movie’s Jewish elements are playful — a gay bar throws a “Coming Out of Egypt” party, and Reuben moans over the din of family hijinks: “My life has become a bad Jewish joke.” What makes this approach most charming, though, is that it’s backed up by the kind of physical comedy that evokes early slapsticky Woody Allen.
Buch’s deeply campy approach to his subject matter means that the film is heavy on the frosting, but truth is, there is so much robust warmth to the script and to the chemistry of the cast that it’s sort of irresistible.