Les Bureaux de Dieu (God's Offices) Reviews

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Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2011
Based on observations at a family planning clinic in France from 2000 to 2007, "God's Offices" actually has more to say on the state of multicultural France than on contraception or abortion.(Luckily, they don't seem to have anti-abortion pests in France but quite a few women are sent to Barcelona, especially if they are past the first trimester.) In its rambling way, the movie consists of a series of talks between women(sometimes alone and sometimes accompanied) and social workers(who find their job simultaneously rewarding and emotionally draining) discussing pregnancy. Now, a lot of the women are daughters of immigrants from countries such as Algeria and Morocco, and have strict parents. So, in the safe haven of the clinic, the social workers act like aunts(most of them are older while the younger Emmanuelle(Lolita Chammah) is just learning the ropes) who they can freely confide in and receive advice. So, Pierre(Emmanuel Mouret), also a trainee, wonders if the women will want to talk to him when the time comes. Regardless, the teenage girls may be giggling now, but this is serious business.

Sadly, "God's Offices" does not really do much to develop this material into a coherent narrative with characters appearing and disappearing on a whim. That does not mean it had to be a soap opera or a very depraved episode of "House," either. Just any kind of story would have been nice. And if the intent had been to work a neo-realist angle, then why employ recognizble actors like Nathalie Baye? At least, the dance numbers make up for "Glee" not being on this week.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2011
Based on observations at a family planning clinic in France from 2000 to 2007, "God's Offices" actually has more to say on the state of multicultural France than on contraception or abortion.(Luckily, they don't seem to have anti-abortion pests in France but quite a few women are sent to Barcelona, especially if they are past the first trimester.) In its rambling way, the movie consists of a series of talks between women(sometimes alone and sometimes accompanied) and social workers(who find their job simultaneously rewarding and emotionally draining) discussing pregnancy. Now, a lot of the women are daughters of immigrants from countries such as Algeria and Morocco, and have strict parents. So, in the safe haven of the clinic, the social workers act like aunts(most of them are older while the younger Emmanuelle(Lolita Chammah) is just learning the ropes) who they can freely confide in and receive advice. So, Pierre(Emmanuel Mouret), also a trainee, wonders if the women will want to talk to him when the time comes. Regardless, the teenage girls may be giggling now, but this is serious business.

Sadly, "God's Offices" does not really do much to develop this material into a coherent narrative with characters appearing and disappearing on a whim. That does not mean it had to be a soap opera or a very depraved episode of "House," either. Just any kind of story would have been nice. And if the intent had been to work a neo-realist angle, then why employ recognizble actors like Nathalie Baye? At least, the dance numbers make up for "Glee" not being on this week.
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