Driving Madeleine Movie Review: Moving Reflections on Life via Paris

Driving Madeleine (2022) is one of the most lovely films I’ve seen. Directed by Christian Carion, I haven’t seen many people talk about this movie, which makes me sad. The story of Madeleine Keller (Line Renaud), an older woman in Paris taking a last taxi ride thanks to driver Charles (Dany Boom) through the capital (and her memories) before she goes to live in a nursing home, Driving Madeleine is one of those rare films that can both pull at your heartstrings and move you. 

I know some people are moved by sad films like My Sister’s Keeper or very heartfelt family films like Toy Story 3, but those films do not easily move me. I don’t get moved by many films. It’s not that I’m insensitive, but I’ve become someone who doesn’t cry easily. Now, with this film, I was deeply moved by the performances in this film. I love seeing the taxi ride as the narrative device for this film because it allows a deep exploration of the lives of both Charles and Madeleine. 

The story of Driving Madeleine

While driving around Paris, Charles stops at different places that mean something to Madeleine, and she has some beautiful memories. Both characters are going through something in this film. The day started terribly for Charles, while Madeleine is using this taxi ride as a form of saying goodbye before she moves into a nursing home. I can’t imagine if a taxi driver is having a bad day, they would want to drive a 92-year-old woman around a town she’s lived in her whole life. But I’m glad he did it anyway because this gesture from an obviously frustrated man is very kind and thoughtful.

Despite his own personal crisis, Charles agrees to drive her around this town that has been her home all her life. She wants to take a stroll down memory lane one last time as a form of reflection as she embarks on this new phase of life. You can see their bond form as Charles starts to open up about his personal issues. You can tell when someone is upset or annoyed about something. Madeleine, of course, can tell that this guy has much on his mind. She said to him,” Anger ages you. But it’s everywhere now.” I love that line because you could only obtain that kind of wisdom through a long life lived. Madeline speaks from experience. 

Madeleine has a lifetime of memories and lessons

It’s bittersweet as we delve into different stories from her life and she reflects on a lifetime of memories. She talks about her marriage to Ray (Jérémie Laheurte), who resents her child and begins taking his frustration and anger out on both Madeleine and the child. “Back in those days, you couldn’t get a divorce for domestic violence,” she says solemnly. As she recounts the story, Madeleine talks about how her younger self felt the need to go the extra mile to deal with the situation, and there are consequences. 

As the camera pans over the exquisite scenery of France, the movie masterfully moves through different moments in her life with a gentle touch. It’s not always easy to do so in a film such as this. The movie takes its time to introduce Madeleine and unfold what her life was like. Watching this film will make you want to spend time with your grandparents because her life is such a beautiful mix of love, anger, pain, and history. 

Madeleine takes the time to talk about World War II and Vietnam, reminding the audience that history impacts all of them differently, even today. This film is heartwarming with a profound story, but we also see how clever Madeleine truly is as she helps Charles escape a traffic violation that could cost him his livelihood.

Charles and Madeleine form an impressive bond in Driving Madeleine

Not only do we watch Charles and Madeleine form a lovely bond, but we, as the audience, are also let into this lovely tale. At the end of the ride, Charles doesn’t take the 292-pound fare fee. I’m not going to lie; I would have taken the money if I had been him. It would make sense for him to take the money because he’s having debt issues. His debt problems are so bad that he is in danger of losing his license, which means he will lose his primary source of income. 

However, when I saw him refuse Madeleine’s money, it reminded me of how precious life is. He must have realized it as he was listening to Madeleine recount these moments in her life that will never leave her. Sometimes in life, we get so caught up in our own problems and issues that we don’t know what to do. We don’t know how to live or even be happy sometimes because we don’t think there’s any point. Nevertheless, when you take the time to listen to someone’s story or open your eyes, you see that your problems are not your whole world. You shouldn’t let the things worrying you today keep you from having lifelong memories. Those are the things that matter, and those are the things you need to hold dear. And never lose sight of that. That’s one thing I learned when watching Driving Madeleine. 

Final thoughts on this Christian Carion movie 

Heartwarming cannot even begin to describe the feeling you will get when you watch this film. Driving Madeleine brings out a range of emotions for the audience members as we take the time to ponder on the connections you make with the people you meet in life. For me, it still has the striking and simple visuals I adore in French cinema and the wholesome journey that reminds me to look back at the moments in my life with love and fondness. Dany Boon and Line Renaud are such a dynamic duo and I enjoyed seeing them form a true bond with one another. 

Driving Madeleine is now in limited theaters and available digitally.

Find out more information, including how to buy tickets, by visiting the film’s website. Have you watched the film yet? What do you think of Driving Madeleine? Does it make you reflect on the world? Let us know by connecting with us on X @MoviesWeTexted.

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