Picks and Pans Review: Beau Pere

updated 11/30/1981 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/30/1981 01:00AM

It's not exactly Lolita and it has a French accent, but this movie is the story of a 30ish man with a seductive 14-year-old stepdaughter on his hands. (The title is a pun, since "beau père" in French means "handsome father" as well as "stepfather.") After the sudden death of the girl's mother, Patrick Dewaere, who plays an out-of-work musician, finds himself stuck at home alone with the nymphette. She is the coolly sexy Ariel Besse. One thing leads to another, and they fall in love, slowly but convincingly and quite touchingly. The film works, thanks to some fine understated acting by all and a smooth, convincing directorial effort by Bertrand Blier, who won an Oscar in 1978 with the comedy Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, another story of manners and mores in contemporary France. You'd think that a story about an older man who is seduced by a teenage girl would be material for a porno movie house, but in Blier's capable hands, it's not. In fact, the scenes leading up to the moment they hit the sack together are so funny they have the effect of disarming almost anyone in the audience who could be getting uncomfortable with such a naughty theme. (In French with English subtitles) (Not rated)

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