a man, woman, and child rest their elbows on a fence or wall
Courtesy Gene Siskel Film Center

The demands on Sandra (Léa Seydoux) are extensive. She’s a widow raising a precocious ten-year-old daughter alone; her father, a famous academic, has rapidly advancing dementia and Sandra is in charge of finding him a care facility; and her job as a translator is demanding, particularly when she works live events.

But after a holiday movie season in which innocence was blown to smithereens in No Man’s Land (All Quiet on the Western Front), Steven Spielberg told you again why he loves to make movies (The Fabelmans), and Brendan Gleeson cut off his fingers for spite (The Banshees of Inisherin), it’s a relief to live through Sandra’s mundane experiences in One Fine Morning. Writer and director Mia Hansen-Løve has crafted a small miracle: a film filled with quotidian life events that doesn’t make you want to die from boredom or shake the main character onto a higher plane.

Hansen-Løve directs her matter-of-fact screenplay with crisp efficiency. Scenes don’t begin and end so much as get brushed aside; Sandra’s life is far too busy to linger. The audience becomes immersed in Sandra’s existence the same way she does: by experiencing similar events over and over until they add up to something bigger.

This movie is about everyday life, and it’s all the more transcendent for it. Even the affair Sandra embarks on with her husband’s old (and married) friend Clément (Melvil Poupaud) is part of the at-times joyous and other-times heartbreaking routine that is sandwiched between everything else. Seydoux is sublime, her natural performance anchoring Sandra’s busy, if routine, life. Don’t miss One Fine Morning. R, 112 min.

Gene Siskel Film Center