27 September 2023

Belle & Sebastian: Next Generation

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: Pierre Coré, Icon Film Distribution.

Finest real-life animal stories reveal heartwarming love. Belle & Sebastian: Next Generation is no exception. Like its precursors, it’s full of appeal, offering a sense of promise, regardless of the odds.

Animal storylines foster compassion, fondness and faithfulness in humans because, for the most part, that is the nature of animals themselves.

Well-intentioned 10-year-old Sébastian (Robinson Mensah Rouanet) just can’t stay out of trouble. His latest plight forces his mother, Cécile (Caroline Anglade) to cancel his holiday with friends. Instead, she takes him to stay on the family farm with her sister, Noémie (Alice David), who is fun-loving though often not around, and their mother, Corinne (Michèle Laroque), who is always around — stern and censorious. She is annoyed about having her grandson come to stay without her agreement being sought. She doesn’t hold back in declaring how unwanted he is at the farm.

Neither is Seb keen on spending the school break with his grandmother and aunt in the countryside. Though the family farm is in the stunning French Pyrenees mountains, Seb finds herding sheep utterly boring. That is, until he meets Belle, a giant dog with a heart of gold.

When Seb discovers that Belle is being mistreated by her owner, he’s ready to do what he can to protect his new friend. In the process, he could just find a way to save the family farm from greedy developers and looming climate change. Filled with gorgeous scenery and modern themes, this contemporary version delivers smartly.

A boy from the city, Seb finds life in the mountains to be beguiling and alarming. While it’s bleak and the risks quiet and unseen, the familiar themes are followed of love, loyalty, fairness and affirmation. While Belle is a lovable canine, it’s Sébastian who is determined and courageous despite the situation. Ready to do anything to fight injustice and to protect his new-found friend, Seb spends the craziest summer of his life.

PS News has been given two family passes (for two adults and two children) to see the film in participating cinemas. Just tell us the name of the canine in this film. If your answer is correct, you could be a winner. Entries should be sent to [email protected] by Monday, 26 June 2023. Names of the winners will be published in Frank Cassidy’s PS-sssst…! column on 27 June 2023.

  • Belle & Sebastian: Next Generation will open in cinemas on 29 June

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