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Camera Obscura: Hors Normes

By December 9, 2019 December 11th, 2019 No Comments

The drama Hors Normes starts in the heart of Paris. Here, the audience is immediately introduced to a child diagnosed with a severe form of autism, running away with her eyes full of panic with no one around to calm her down. Finally Malik – her caregiver – finds the scared and disoriented girl and manages to make her feel at ease again.

The story of Hors Normes introduces Malik and Bruno, two friends with different religious beliefs who pursue the same ambition: running a non-profit organisation for children diagnosed with a severe form of autism. Bruno runs a home where the children who are not accepted by society or other care facilities live, whereas Malik trains disadvantaged teens to mentor these children. This leads to special relationships between people from two completely diffe-
rent worlds.

Underneath the passion of the main characters, there is a frustration regarding the lack of diplomas Bruno, Malik and the teens have. Even though the care home is the only place the children can go to, the Ministry of Health does not want to approve the organization. Not only are they not officially qualified for the job, a lack of money is causing problems as well. Bruno keeps wanting to accept new helpless children with autism, knowing he does not have the budget. Saying ‘Je trouve une solution’ (‘I will find a solution’) is a meaningful theme during the movie. It is beautiful to see Bruno maintaining his priority of helping the children instead of the costs.

Although Hors Normes is not a typical feelgood movie, it brings out an underlying sense of humor while the audience is taken on a serious but beautiful journey through the difficulties in the lives of people with autism. The movie includes real mentors and real autistic youngsters, to mix real life and fiction in a constant back and forth movement, and thus be able to intrude on the intimacy of the characters, their daily lives and personal issues.

The directors did an amazing job by working with wonderful actors who have been diagnosed with autism in real life, in order to produce a very moving and realistic movie. Benjamin Lesieur plays Joseph, a teen with autism and a friend of Bruno’s. Everytime he monotonously says ‘Je peux avec matête contre ton épaule?’ (‘Can I put my head against your shoulder?’), it shows the audience his way of giving affection to Bruno, which leaves the audience with a warm feeling and a hint of laughter. The way these little signs of love and attach-
ment are shown, makes you fall in love with the bond between the care-
givers and the children.

The movie not only portrays the complexity of working with children with autism, but it also shows that behind the tears, there is laughter. Hors Normes is an educational and inspiring movie about hard work and people who care for others. With a beautifully accurate title, the based-on-a-true-story movie Hors Normes (‘extraordinary’), directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, has successfully taken the audience on a realistic and touching journey into the experience of being diagnosed with autism and the difficult situations these children find themselves in, where caring out of love (sometimes) might be superior to being officially qualified. The movie is powerful because of its emotional, poetic and artistic scenes, which shows that both the children and the caregivers are – indeed – extraordinary.

Directors: Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano.

This movie is out December 12 in a cinema near you.

The drama Hors Normes starts in the heart of Paris. Here, the audience is immediately introduced to a child diagnosed with a severe form of autism, running away with her eyes full of panic with no one around to calm her down. Finally Malik – her caregiver – finds the scared and disoriented girl and manages to make her feel at ease again.

The story of Hors Normes introduces Malik and Bruno, two friends with different religious beliefs who pursue the same ambition: running a non-profit organisation for children diagnosed with a severe form of autism. Bruno runs a home where the children who are not accepted by society or other care facilities live, whereas Malik trains disadvantaged teens to mentor these children. This leads to special relationships between people from two completely diffe-
rent worlds.

Underneath the passion of the main characters, there is a frustration regarding the lack of diplomas Bruno, Malik and the teens have. Even though the care home is the only place the children can go to, the Ministry of Health does not want to approve the organization. Not only are they not officially qualified for the job, a lack of money is causing problems as well. Bruno keeps wanting to accept new helpless children with autism, knowing he does not have the budget. Saying ‘Je trouve une solution’ (‘I will find a solution’) is a meaningful theme during the movie. It is beautiful to see Bruno maintaining his priority of helping the children instead of the costs.

Although Hors Normes is not a typical feelgood movie, it brings out an underlying sense of humor while the audience is taken on a serious but beautiful journey through the difficulties in the lives of people with autism. The movie includes real mentors and real autistic youngsters, to mix real life and fiction in a constant back and forth movement, and thus be able to intrude on the intimacy of the characters, their daily lives and personal issues.

The directors did an amazing job by working with wonderful actors who have been diagnosed with autism in real life, in order to produce a very moving and realistic movie. Benjamin Lesieur plays Joseph, a teen with autism and a friend of Bruno’s. Everytime he monotonously says ‘Je peux avec matête contre ton épaule?’ (‘Can I put my head against your shoulder?’), it shows the audience his way of giving affection to Bruno, which leaves the audience with a warm feeling and a hint of laughter. The way these little signs of love and attach-
ment are shown, makes you fall in love with the bond between the care-
givers and the children.

The movie not only portrays the complexity of working with children with autism, but it also shows that behind the tears, there is laughter. Hors Normes is an educational and inspiring movie about hard work and people who care for others. With a beautifully accurate title, the based-on-a-true-story movie Hors Normes (‘extraordinary’), directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, has successfully taken the audience on a realistic and touching journey into the experience of being diagnosed with autism and the difficult situations these children find themselves in, where caring out of love (sometimes) might be superior to being officially qualified. The movie is powerful because of its emotional, poetic and artistic scenes, which shows that both the children and the caregivers are – indeed – extraordinary.

Directors: Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano.

This movie is out December 12 in a cinema near you.

Elise van Graven

Author Elise van Graven

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