Director: Iris Kaltenbäck | Script: Naïla Guiguet, Iris Kaltenbäck, Alexandre de La Baume [/b] | Cast: Hafsia Herzi (Lydia), Alexis Manenti (Milos Popovic), Nina Meurisse (Salomé), ea | Time to play: 97 minutes | Year: 2023
Young Parisian Lydia is a good and experienced midwife, who stands her ground and brings new babies into the world with patience and a firm hand. In the opening scene, she appears to be living a completely normal life. With her raven hair, she prepares a cake for her best friend Salomé’s birthday on the streets of Paris and complains about her boyfriend. When he admits that she has slept with someone else, she reacts apparently very decisively but calmly. The relationship is already over. Meanwhile, a contained storm of emotions hits her face. Lydia is not someone who explodes but implodes.
All she wants is to tell her best friend everything during the birthday party, but venting comes to nothing when Salomé’s pregnancy test comes back positive. This news creates a kind of professional deformity in her; It’s as if the long-lost friend and experienced midwife inside her are fighting for priority. Lydia decides at that precise moment to turn her heart into a pit of slaughter. Pregnancy leaves everything aside. You see the pain contained in her face and the loving smile she gives to her best friend. Lydia is single again and Salomé is pregnant. Their lives took a different turn that same day.
This film explores the tension between the desire for a family and the reality of new motherhood. The two friends present the other side of the coin: motherhood is disappointing for Salomé and it is not easy for her. She is sad, she lacks sleep and argues with her husband. They don’t know what name to give her daughter.
Lydia introduces Esmée (‘the beloved’) and she turns out to be a tower of strength. She immediately clicks with Esmée, whom she is completely in love with, babysits regularly, and whom she seems naturally capable of taking good care of. While Salome feels little for her son, Lydia immediately rejoices: “Look what beautiful things you have brought into the world.” She is a pillar of support who soothes the mother, cares for her daughter, and keeps the peace at all times. This is how he helps Salomé get through his postpartum dip.
What Salomé doesn’t know is that Lydia has fallen madly in love with the Serbian bus driver Milos, with whom she spent a night, and that her daughter has become part of a new project. It was a bolt from the blue for the quiet Lydia and she couldn’t forget Milos. After running into him again at the hospital with the new Esmée in her arms, Lydia cleverly pulled a ‘Billie Jean’. With the ‘small’ detail that she now uses Salomé’s daughter to conquer the completely disinterested man.
If the role of Milos had been played by a charismatic and sought-after hottie, the film would follow the classic path of a manipulative temptress who traps a man in her webs. However, the film clearly retains the nuances here. Lydia is certainly doing something wrong, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Lydia’s object of obsession is a frank and clumsy loner, who has no big dreams or ambitions. He doesn’t provide much fun either. Half the time you don’t even understand what she sees in him. Hafsia Herzi plays an introverted character and her crush remains subtly asleep and never appears on screen. It only raises the question of why she tries so hard.
Does Lydia, as a young Parisian, make a clumsy attempt at happiness? Is she making a small misstep? Does her web of lies accidentally get out of control? Are you following a dumb millennial who got into trouble? Does she like to be reserved? Or does she have a brain twist that points to deeper personality problems? Can Lydia contain both the saving angel and the dangerous schemer? Do we see a glimpse of a ‘Madwoman in the Attic’ in her? Or does she just crave some warmth? These questions will keep you busy throughout this movie. One thing is certain: Lydia has taken a dangerous path with her pretend motherhood.
The friendship is played impressively by Hafsia Herzi and Nina Meurissen. The actresses are completely natural and their dynamics are sublime. The tension between the two (read: ‘I smile but I really want what you have’) is constantly palpable. You don’t doubt for a moment that they have become symbiotically intertwined with each other and have ended up in a family constellation as best friends. They speak to each other like sisters with a long history and are a good couple. The confusion of the birth mother and the clarity of the midwife are complementary. The intensity of their friendship makes you understand that the boundaries have been blurred.
The rapture it’s not Emily in Paris where the next nice Parisian is ready for the clumsy heroine, but the film also does not become dark or gloomy. Investigate what happens when friends in each other’s lives change from main characters to secondary characters.
What makes the film strong is not so much that it raises the question of the extent to which Lydia is a manipulator, but that it also raises the question of the extent to which her object of desire deserves that manipulation. He also asks himself that question. although The rapture shows the complexity of good friends and therefore apparently revolves entirely around three women, this film intelligently reflects on the role of men.