MILF (lol)

Films: Uncharted Milf

“You’re not eighty. Everything is possible.”

Rating: 3 out of 5.

In an industry that celebrates youth and beauty, women over the age of forty usually end up playing the roles of mothers and grandmothers, stripped of their sexual appeal in order to appear maternal. That’s why Axella Laffont’s French comedy MILF (2018) seems so refreshing, putting middle-aged women not only in front of – and behind – the camera, but throwing them into scandalous situations that challenge oppressive social expectations.

Widowed Cécile (Virginie Ledoyen) returns to the vacation house she shared with her husband in order to tidy it up before handing it over to a potential new buyer. In this emotionally exhausting endeavour, she is joined by her two best friends, Elise (Axelle Laffont) and Sonia (Marie-Josée Croze), who encourage her to enjoy her stay by the sea. When they come across two young men working as sailing instructors at the sea side, Paul (Wael Sersoub) and Julien (Matthias Dandois), they instantly fall prey to the boys’ lust. Their friend, Markus (Victor Meutelet), recognises a shard of his past attraction to Cécile when he meets her again after many years, and so he joins the other two in pining after the mature women.

Be warned that, in true French fashion, this film is abundant in explicit sex scenes and slow-motion shots of bikini-clad women bouncing jovially when riding horseback. If you don’t mind the porn intervals, however, the story might even tickle your fancy. The main theme is quite clearly age – whether that means witnessing clashing maturity levels, or overcoming social expectations. MILF deals with this quite skillfully. Every character is vividly written, standing out from the rest – even within their own circles. Both men and women are multi-faceted, skipping along a broad spectrum of emotions. This is highlighted by fast, witty dialogue, which naturally leads to quite a few misunderstandings along the way. More importantly, the three boys’ varied personalities, and the driving forces behind their interest in the women, makes the plot more engaging.

The idea of coupling middle-aged women with young boys is not necessarily original, as we have already discussed one of the possible interpretations of such a pairing in our review of Adore (2013), but the subject is still taboo enough to titillate our interest. In truth, there is a surprisingly emotional thread woven into the story. We are presented with the struggle of being a single woman over a certain age – as internal as it is external. Still, most of the film’s focus is directed on the women’s willful, yet self-conscious, opposition to misogynistic expectations and callous judgements. Transcending appearances, we are pulled into a deeper conversation about our own life choices, as well as the questionable existence of second chances and do-overs.

In the end, it’s hard to tell if the level of awkwardness and second-hand embarrassment we experience watching this film is highly indicative of its subdued brilliance, or its lack of originality. Even so, it binds our gazes to the screen like a squealing car crash, promising a wickedly pleasant spectacle. In doing so, MILF masterfully instills in its audience a sense of “schadenfreude”, which is a German term for the experience of pleasure or self-satisfaction that comes from witnessing, or learning of, the humiliation of another.

Sadly, what the film is desperately missing is an authentic French soundtrack. The English-language music makes MILF appear more like a spoof, or a film of intentionally bad taste at times. That is because French and English-American cultures exist on entirely different planes in terms of audacity and subtlety. By not allowing the film to exist in its own little bubble of justifiable eccentricity, it almost feels like it’s asking for the audience’s approval – or at least trying to live up to a certain expectation. And in that weakness rests its arguable downfall. Still, it’s an amusing guilty-pleasure watch for those seeking something unpretentious.

Available on:

Netflix, Microsoft Store, Pluto TV

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s