Full Time

Full Time

2023, NR, 85 min. Directed by Eric Gravel. Starring Laure Calamy, Geneviève Mnich, Cyril Gueï, Anne Suarez, Lucie Gallo, Nolan Arizmendi, Sasha Lemaitre Cremaschi, Agathe Dronne, Mathilde Weil.

REVIEWED By Josh Kupecki, Fri., March 17, 2023

It all starts so peacefully, with a body in repose. Julie (Calamy) sleeps, the steady rhythm of her breathing soon broken by another beat: her alarm. Julie is the mother of two young children, a boy and a girl, whom she wakes so they can prepare for school. Julie is divorced, and she’s having trouble contacting her ex-husband, who has yet to send the month’s alimony. Julie longs to return to her career in the corporate world as a market researcher, and she has an interview this week. Julie currently works as the head chambermaid at a five-star hotel in Paris, but she lives in a distant suburb. Julie lives a life of such delicate balance that the smallest of variables could send everything tumbling down. But in French Canadian filmmaker Eric Gravel’s relentlessly paced Full Time, fate sends no less than a massive public service strike that paralyzes the railways and metros of Paris and its outside environs.

Full Time charts with harrowing immediacy Julie’s struggle to keep it all together. The camera never leaves her as she figures out how to cover her shift so she can go to the job interview, how to placate the put-upon Madame Lusigny (Mnich), who tends to Julie’s children after school, and how to deal with the fact that at any moment her financial resources are going to dry up with a “card declined” message.

And looming over it all with crowds of stranded commuters and gridlocked traffic, Julie has to actually navigate to these places: work in the city, home to her family, shopping for an impending birthday party, and that nerve-racking job interview. It is geography as enemy. The film layers in reversals and complications, driven by Irène Drésel’s wonderfully tense soundtrack and Mathilde Van de Moortel’s virtuoso editing, which picked up awards at the Venice Film Festival and the Césars. The cumulative effect is (repeatedly) heart-stopping. And while Gravel’s film resonates with the larger themes of labor inequality, parenthood, job insecurity, and social unrest, Full Time never loses the focus of what it is, which is one of the best thrillers of the year.

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More Laure Calamy Films
My Donkey, My Lover & I
Giddy romp through the South of France is charming and scenic

Jenny Nulf, July 22, 2022

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Full Time, Eric Gravel, Laure Calamy, Geneviève Mnich, Cyril Gueï, Anne Suarez, Lucie Gallo, Nolan Arizmendi, Sasha Lemaitre Cremaschi, Agathe Dronne, Mathilde Weil

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