Standing Tall is unlikable, but I don’t think Emmanuelle Bercot made this film to be easily embraced. Unfortunately, it’s terribly unappealing.
Making his acting debut, Rod Paradot plays delinquent adolescent Malony. As Malony, Paradot has the impressive ability to flip a switch from being subdued to being extremely vulnerable. He has yet to learn how to properly hone his talent and be openly receptive for movie goers.
Malony’s life is filled with abandonment and recklessness; the audience understands his outbursts in this respect. However, when his emotions are not bubbling up inside, Malony’s tantrums happen abruptly causing the audience to ponder about the origins of each loud dispute. Once Paradot’s threatening unpredictability becomes detrimental to his character, the audience starts to distance themselves from the irate troubled boy (who is supposed to be the film’s central focus, mind you), and then continue to disassociate with the film.
Standing Tall has a basic coming-of-age core underneath its raw appearance, which is good considering how reliable the formula can be and how a filmmaker still has available wiggle-room to add their own flare. That said, little is established by Emmanuelle Bercot as to how Standing Tall separates itself from other coming-of-age movies. Even the rest of the film’s ensemble (including Belle de Jour’s Catherine Deneuve) is portrayed within an adequate yet tepid range. Their performances are not exactly poor, but they don’t offer Bercot any specific specialties.
That actually sums up Emmanuelle Bercot’s Standing Tall on the whole: it’s not poor, but it’s not particularly special. It just sort of, well, stands there.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie