Ricky, the latest film by François Ozon to receive release in the United States, is so chock full of tonal and generic shifts that it makes for a handy little guide to its French director’s scattershot career. Opening with a punishing long-take close-up of young mother Katie (Alexandra Lamy) crying to an off-screen police officer that she and her child have been abandoned by her husband, the film is introduced as domestic melodrama, not unexpected territory for the once upstart Ozon (as seen in his 5×2, Under the Sand). Soon, through many temporal elisions, we’re watching Katie living alone with her now seven-year-old daughter, Lisa (Mélusine Mayance), who feels unwanted and ignored; then meeting a new lover, Paco (Sergi Lopez, finally not playing the heavy after Pan’s Labyrinth and With a Friend Like Harry . . .), on the floor of her factory job and banging him in a work bathroom stall (shades of sex farce take us into more Water Drops on Burning Rocks and Sitcom territory). And in the seeming blink of an eye she invites Paco to move in with her and Lisa, soon after which Katie is pregnant with her second child, Ricky.
Thus far Ozon has already transitioned out of the working-class desperation the film initially presents and has attained a lighter tone, a story of redemptive romance, perhaps. Yet Paco’s ambiguous and erratic behavior and male-pattern subsumed anger soon disrupt the idyll. Read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of Ricky.