The film would sit comfortably alongside 2008’s Cheeky Girls (Freche Mädchen). LOL is a similar tale of teenage woe about a trio of young girls. They may be a little bit older and less naïve than their German counterparts (because this is France, everyone’s smoking and having sex) but the two films certainly have a lot in common.
Lola (Christa Theret) lives with her divorced mother, Anne (Sophie Marceau), and her two siblings. The bond Lola and Anne share is at times astonishing, though of course there are many things that Lola keeps to herself. She’s having boy troubles – her love of one year slept around during summer break. No sooner has she cast him off than she begins to fall for his best friend, Maël, against her better judgment. Her two best friends, Charlotte (Marion Chabassol) and Stéphanie (Lou Lesage) are having their own romance issues. Stéphanie feels like she isn’t as important to her boyfriend as he is to her, and Charlotte is spending her time playing kinky sex games with a mysterious boy over the internet.
It’s all very upbeat and funny but the first twenty minutes of LOL does its best to prevent the viewer from latching onto any of the characters. We’re assaulted by rapid-fire scenes, introduced to a dozen teenagers – who all look the same – and witness several montages in a row. I can only assume that the producer and editor are the enemies of the slow-burn feature. Considering that the film is aimed at teenagers, this is understandable, but it’s all a bit too speedy for my liking.
Nevertheless, I did eventually work out what was going on and LOL is an entertaining teen romantic comedy. I shall belatedly apologise for my generalisation about the French in the first paragraph but any offence is rendered moot once you see the hilariously stereotyped representation of the English in this film.
Everyone in this film is gorgeous – the adults, the kids, the objects of desire, the old flames. The mother/daughter duo of Marceau/Theret is particularly brilliant in their depiction of an insanely close familial bond. It may be that some blanche at the thought of such a strong connection whilst others wish they had a similar relationship with their parents but it can’t be denied that it is one of the film’s strengths, and something that sets it apart from others of its ilk.
There’s a subtext concerning women’s sexuality in the wake of the sexual revolution that weaves in and out of the narrative but writers Lisa Azuelos and Nans Delgado’s point is lost somewhere along the way. Lola’s mother is afraid of applying a double standard when it comes to her daughter, yet the issues regarding her child’s burgeoning sexuality aren’t really gender-specific. This is one of several elements that feel unfinished and there are a number of scenes that feel as if they should have been more important, yet the film merely passes them by.
LOL is a decent flick about mother/daughter relations, even if it doesn’t really have a clear moral at its heart. Fortunately however, the affable characters are enough to make the film an enjoyable diversion.Rating: