Hunting and Gatheringensemble book cover

…or ‘Ensemble c’est tout’ if you prefer the French title. WARNING: Spoiler alert. Don’t read on if you’re planning to see this film.

I was looking forward to seeing ‘Hunting and Gathering’, having enjoyed previous features with the gorgeous Audrey Tautou. And it was pretty – very pretty – with its wonderful French buildings and countryside.Camille (Audrey Tautou) was lovely, Frank (Guilliame Canet) is very easy on the eye. The other two main characters – Phillibert (from an aristocratic family) and Paulette (Frank’s grandmother) were both very interesting. I don’t know if this movie came from a book, but it felt like it might have. While (Audrey’s) Camille’s story was centre-stage, there were several other stories that warranted more exploration, I thought. Back stories for almost all the other characters needed more explanation to really make glorious the resolution. Thinking about the film afterwards, I had lots of questions. If Phillibert’s stuttering came from a troubled and emotionally under-supported childhood, why were his parents at the solo theatrical performance that marked his emergence from their shadow? And just where did his girlfriend come from? Why didn’t they all move into Paulette’s house? Who kept Paulette’s amazing garden and glorious pets in such wonderful condition for so long? What happened to the vacated ‘apartment’? When was the transition from being a temporary invalid in need of some TLC to permanent resident? I had a sense of bits having been cut out rather than never having been explored.
I liked the relationships that evolved in ‘Hunting and Gathering’ and the sense of the power of community in enriching lives, indeed in many senses saving lives. I just wanted a little bit more.