By Daniele Foti-Cuzzola
Expecting a newborn baby is no walk in the park, especially when the expectant parents are both 15 year old teenagers.
Francophone director Guillaume Senez, sensitively explores the trials and tribulations of teenage pregnancy in his candid and thought-provoking debut feature film, Keeper.
Fifteen-year-old Maxime (Kacey Mottet Klein) has the world at his feet.
The aspiring soccer goalie has caught the attention of some high-profile soccer clubs and is in a happy relationship with his high school sweetheart Mélanie (Galatéa Bellugi).
However, his world is turned upside down when Mélanie reveals she is pregnant.
After deciding to keep the baby, the young couple face a number of hurdles as they come to terms with their impending parenthood, while navigating through the crossroads of being young adults.
What makes Keeper stand out from other teenage pregnancy films like Juno and Riding in Cars with Boys, is that it explores the point of view from the young father’s perspective, which is a rarity in Hollywood.
Klein delivers a powerful and realistic performance as a teenager, who is at first bratty and in denial about his impending fatherhood, but grows to embrace it and contemplates giving up his dreams to be a present father.
His optimism is both endearing and heartbreaking as he is constantly reminded he has no control on what is decided, but remains helplessly supportive regardless.
Bellugi is equally impressive as young Mélanie and the two have a charming and endearing chemistry together, which will leave viewers keenly supporting for the young couple and their little family.
Bellugi beautifully portrays the realistic rollercoaster of emotions any expecting mother would go through.
She is fiercely protective of her unborn child, struggles with mood swings and is ultimately terrified about being a mother. Laetitia Dosch also delivers a powerhouse performance as Mélanie’s conflicted mother.
Writers Guillaume Senez and David Lambert’s screenplay realistically conveys the sensitivity around teenage pregnancies and the concerns for all those involved.
The characters are well written and fleshed out that they are very relatable.
In one standout scene, Maxime’s divorced parents meet with Mélanie’s conflicted mother who was also a teenager when she had Mélanie.
She expresses her disapproval of her daughter’s decision, as she doesn’t want her to make the same mistake, to which Mélanie asks whether she regrets having her.
The emotionally charged scene is confronting to watch but a painful reminder of how unsupportive and headstrong many parents can be during such trying times.
Keeper is an emotionally thought-provoking film that treats such a controversial topic with great sensitivity.
While the film may be confronting for some viewers, it is an important film to watch that celebrates the respect for human life in all its form even if it comes along unexpectedly.
The wonderful performances and well-crafted screenplay make Senez’s debut feature a true Keeper.
Keeper is screening as part of the Alliance French Film Festival.
For your chance to win a double in-season pass to the Alliance French Film Festival which is screening from March 15 till April 5, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us in 25 words or less what is your favourite thing about France.