Nothing new then to find France beset by strikes at the start of Eric Gravel’s Full Time (A Plein Temps) which follows Julie’s (Laure Calamy) life as a chambermaid in a 5-star hotel and her life as a perpetual scramble to catch transport on her commute to work from outside Paris, as well as juggling an alimony, mortgage and single parenting. She leaves her house before dawn and picks up her children from a childminder in darkness. It’s full on, full time. She even has to deal with a ‘Bobby Sands’ in the hotel. Driven by a propulsive score by Irène Drésel, Full Time sets the scene of this relentless grind. The endless treadmill is highly relatable, it’s not dissimilar to Ken Loach’s profoundly moving social realism. When Julie attempts to better herself with a market research job, again she hits the wall of finding the time and the transport to make the interviews.
Whilst the life of a single parent under pressure is ably illustrated by the eminently watchable Calamy (Call My Agent), there is a slight niggling sense at times that Gravel is hammering it home a little too relentlessly. It’s Run Momma Run territory without a few side streets. The film is tautly wound around Julie’s plight and mostly works because we are invested in her, rooting for that lucky break. Prepare for a pedal to the metal viewing experience.
Words: Michael McDermott
Director: Eric Gravel
Talent: Laure Calamy
Release Date: May 26