In the small town of Sainte-Adeline, Quebec, 13-year-old Magalie (Émilie Bierre) seems like the quintessential teenager – sullen, social media addicted, smitten with a secret boyfriend she won’t even tell her closest friends much about. But her life changes dramatically when it is discovered that she’s pregnant, and pretty far along at that. Suddenly she’s slut shamed by everyone at school, and her single mother is at wit’s end, especially because Magalie refuses to reveal the father’s name. And soon everyone is pretty certain that it’s her friend Manu (Léon Diconca Pelletier) who lives across the street with his parents, Jean-Marc (Paul Doucet) the popular mayor of the town and his wife Chantal (Judith Baribeau). But it isn’t what it appears to be at all.
Manu is a Mexican foster kid and the accusation puts his status in question. The audience knows from pretty early on that the “boyfriend” is actually Manu’s foster dad, the Mayor. And once he finds out that Magalie is pregnant and that she wants to keep the baby, he decides to sacrifice Manu to keep himself out of trouble, all the while still trying to keep Magalie in his thrall. It’s very creepy.
It’s one of those stories where you can’t look away, as hard as some of it is to stomach. Bierre is perfect as the teenager who’s been groomed, giddy about the older man who has promised to take care of her family after a local tragedy killed her dad. The strength of her performance is in her ability to convey a range of complex emotions without a word. It’s a smart script, too, tackling timely issues like racism and bullying alongside the disturbing story of a child predator. Les Nôtres isn’t a happy movie, but it is very well done and definitely worth a watch.
In French with subtitles. VOD and in Select Theaters beginning June 18th