With a summer-clad France at its backdrop and three middle-aged women at its fore, Netflix’s new movie ‘MILF’ might sell out to a specific demographic only because of its bawdy title. Unfortunately, there’s nothing more to the film than that. Its plot simply uses tried and tested narrative devices to somehow drag through its flaccid runtime of an hour and a half. While it’s at it, it barely manages to scratch the surface of its overall characterization, and all of its events escalate way too quickly. And even though erotic dramas (especially the ones with titillating titles) have been doing well on Netflix lately, MILF’s lack of any cinematic semblance will undoubtedly appeal to no one.
Three women in the 40s—Elise, Sonia, and Cécile—stay at a beautiful beachside home in France. Although they go there to sell the house, Sonia and Elise don’t take things too seriously and, instead, make a little vacation out of their trip. While Cécile tries to keep her distance, Elise and Sonia grab the attention of some young boys. The young, reckless men blatantly call them MILFs and relentlessly hit on them. Soon, Sonia and Elise also surrender to their seduction and get into casual relationships with them. But what starts as their pursuit to escape their day-to-day snags, soon turns into something far more serious. In the end, the trip teaches them a lot more than they had initially anticipated.
‘MILF’ opens with a scene where one of its three protagonists flashes to a police officer. In these moments itself, it becomes evident what it aspires to achieve—evoke a sense of guilty pleasure in its viewers. As its storyline progresses further, it adds new plot points through which it tries to portray that its three female characters are going through somewhat of a midlife crisis. They’re all at significant crossroads in their life and are trying to figure out what’s right or wrong for them. However, these backstories are just sporadically dropped throughout its runtime and barely add any heft to the development of the characters. Instead of focusing on these crucial elements, the film slowly loses itself in its horrendous comedy.
The strong bond between Elise, Sonia, and Cécile becomes evident from the opening scene of the movie itself. However, the romantic developments between them and the young boys they seduce are far from being believable. The only aspect of their relationship that has a tinge of realism is the contrast that the film creates between the titular “MILFs” and the young men they hook up with. Moreover, even its attempt to normalize such relationships is quite appreciable. Through its depiction of these relationships, the movie also comes with an underlying heartfelt message: Everyone wants to be loved. Regardless of age, sex, or even one’s physical demeanor, almost everyone craves acceptance and love. Along with this, there are moments where it even upends common sexist stereotypes. But these few merits simply pale out compared to its negatives.
The performances of the three leading stars, Marie-Josée Croze, Virginie Ledoyen, and Axelle Laffont, isn’t all that great either. Virginie Ledoyen adds a little bit of an emotional appeal but fails to carry the entire film on her shoulders. As for the other two actresses, they do just fine as an eccentric, dynamic duo who are trying to live their lives to the fullest. But when it comes down to digging deep into their characters and imbuing emotional vulnerability, they barely break out of their one-dimensional roles.
‘MILF’ initially gave me the impression that it aspires to instill a feminist cause of some kind. But, to say the least, it falls short of doing that. Its overall execution and the entire pace of its plot is all over the place. Not to mention, don’t judge the movie by its title. If you walk into it expecting arousing sex scenes of any kind, you will certainly be left disappointed. Overall, I wouldn’t, for once, recommend ‘MILF.’ As much as I appreciate its bright and lively mise-en-scene, I wouldn’t put myself through it again, and neither should you.
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