Q&A with Stéphane Demoustier
When Jérôme (Olivier Gourmet), a fiftyish department-store sales manager, loses his job, and his wife Laura (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) leaves him for another man, all he has left are his pipe dreams and his son Ugo (first-time actor Charles Mérienne). Though only 11 years old, Ugo already shows great promise as a tennis pro, with a trainer eager to recruit him. Jerome cares for Ugo’s auspicious career only grudgingly until a startling development forces him to rethink his priorities. Playing another of his harried “ordinary men,” Gourmet brings trademark authenticity to a role that (like the film’s tennis-entendre English title) skirts both silliness and melancholy. Thanks to his efforts and the preternaturally confident young Mérienne, this first feature by Stéphane Demoustier clears the net on every serve.