An Impossible Love by Catherine Corsini is an old-school melodrama which plays for real without the histrionics. Although this movie is conventional and almost devoid of compelling incidents, it casts an entertaining and charming spell because Corsini puts together a both romantic, and familial tale of relationships during forty years while avoiding skilfully aging make-up.
This film is based on the French author and screenwriter Christine Angot’s best-selling novel telling the story of her own upbringing in Châteauroux, France, which has long haunted her: abuse and emotional cruelty.
An Impossible Love’s plot is set in Châteauroux, France in 1958 when the pretty office worker Rachel (Virginie Efira) meets the dark handsome translator Philippe (Niels Schneider) then starts a passionate affair. But, when Rachel is pregnant, Philippe not only refuses marriage but won’t give his daughter, Chantal (Estelle Lescure), his surname. Philippe disappears, turns his ex-lover into a single mother. But Rachel never stops trying to meet Philippe again and make him legally acknowledge his fatherhood. Time keeps passing, Rachel lives a lonely work life, bringing up her only daughter in her father’s myth.
At this point, the film switches from the men and women impossible love to the mother and daughter impossible love. It’s the state of affairs which are complicated by Phillipe’s return to the life of Rachel and Chantal and this is a catastrophe. Phillipe’s interruptions take an increasingly dark turn for Rachel’s over 40 years bringing up Chantal. That will poison the mother and daughter’s subsequent relationship (with Jehnny Beth as Chantal when becomes a wife and mother in turn).
Through the movie, Neils Schneider makes quite well for a charismatic outsider with sincere ardor for Rachel before giving her colder notes when realizing that she doesn’t fit with his upbringing. But Efira, who makes the journey from a lovely young girlfriend to a single mother affecting and believable, is the star of the movie.