"It Takes All Sorts", was added to my Amazon shopping basket on a whim, without any prior knowledge of the cast or crew, on my part. I really didn't expect much from it, as it hadn't been widely reviewed and didn't have any of the 'usual faces' in it. The first time that I watched it (about two years ago), it knocked me for six and I swore that I'd come back and watch it again, before committing to an Amazon review.
Well, tonight was the night when I went back to it, to see if it could have the same impact the second time around ... it actually went from 4 stars to 5 in my estimation, this time around!
So, why the (somewhat over-stated) adulation for this film? Simple - it makes me feel both 'human' and 'normal', in one go! OK, these are very personal criteria and you're not here to read about me, but rather to learn something about the film. My point is simply that the characters are both so astonishinlgy vividly realised and at the same time, so astonishingly 'recognizable' (in terms of human nature), that it strikes chords and nullifies the need for an especially busy plot, in one go.
Put crudely; your average 'Hollywood action film' has a ratio of 80% plot to 10% character depiction to 10% sublime marketing ploys. THIS kind of cinema focuses on presenting characters, whom a discerning (as some people found this boring, apparently) viewer can relate to and see almost every facet of human nature reflected amongst the cast. That's not to say that there's NO plot here - it's more a case of the plot being a very down to Earth and plausible one, I believe.
The film deals, primarily, with the need (which we all have) for acceptance and explores how different people go about realizing that need. The core character undergoes a very profound and superbly realized transition form 'the outside to the inside' (or so we are lead to assume) and in the process, calls into question just who (amongst the characters) is being true to their instinctive feelings and who is simply 'making the right noises'. It explores the ways in which we all choose to live our daily lives and does a fantastic job, in my opinion, of pointing out that NOBODY holds all of the aces and that each of us is right (and wrong) to some degree.
As some others have said, this film is not really a comedy. It's more of a light-hearted 'look in the mirror' and will surley have many viewers nodding their heads and thinking, "Yep, been there, had that thought before"!
French cinema has a wide fan-base, outside of France and there's a reason for that - the makers of these films are more in touch with and willing to explore 'The Human Condition', than the majority of film-makers from other regions. As such, fans of this genre should have a serious look at this particular title, as it really does press a lot of the right buttons, without seeming stereotypical or formulaic.
The film seems to have a slightly unusual "rhythm" to it, but despite that, the final two scenes have certainly put a lump in my throat on both occasions that I've viewed them. I love this film - both for it's originality and it's sincerity!
At the time of writing, this DVD only costs £3.98 here on Amazon. If cinematic and artistic merit were the criteria for setting prices, you'd have to add a "0" to the end of that price tag (and move the decimal point ;-), to do this gem justice.
Please buy it and judge for yourself.