Based on a 1984 French newspaper story, this is a powerful and gut wrenching film by the outstanding Polish filmmaker, Agnieszha Holland (Europa, Europa, The Secret Garden). Reminiscent of The Deep End of the Ocean and The Return of Martin Guerre, this film tells the story of a 9 year old boy who disappears from his home in a small French town leaving the family completely unstrung.
The mother lapses into trances, the father takes off for Chad, and the sister develops telekinetic powers. Six years later, a male-hustling teenager, beautifully depicted by a young Gregoire Colin (Dreamlife of Angels, Beau Travail) is returned to the boy's family, claiming to be the lost Olivier. Although the holes in the plot are as deep as Ground Zero, the movie is really about the desperation of people who believe what they want to believe.
WARNING: Do not read the Imdb plot summary. Unfortunately, it reveals the entire plot.
This is an outstanding film, as long as you can overlook the the logical inconsistencies. I would like to discuss the resolution of this film with someone who has seen it since I have many unanswered questions.
If the older Olivier was not who he said he was, how did he know all the details of little Olivier's life? Some of it could have been related to him by Marcel, but in the Police Station before he returned home, he identified the mother and sister's name.
Why was not Marcel, the last person to see Olivier, not thoroughly investigated at the time of the disappearance?
How could a male-hustling teenager used to living on the streets fit so easily and comfortably into this family. How could he display such remarkable self-assurance? Doesn't compute.