Cassandra (Adel Exarchopoulos) is a flight attendant for a budget airline. Before each flight, she puts on a cheap uniform and a fake smile, and on board, she spends her minibar stock and sells perfume and lotions to passengers. After flights, the flight attendant, as usual, continues to drink at parties in European clubs and ends her day in the arms of strangers from dating applications. When a flight attendant’s work contract comes to an end, she must choose between being promoted or fired. Although Kassandra dreams of something more, a leadership position in a low-cost airline is definitely not included in her plans. The flight attendant wants a new life and travel around the world, but she is too insecure to apply for a dream airline.
The story of a life-giving stewardess named Cassandra has already been seen by viewers in the American TV series Flight Attendant with Kaley Cuoco. In the HBO project, an eternally drunk airline employee wakes up in bed with a corpse after another party and tries to remember the events of last night. The creators of the Franco-Belgian film crossed out the murder and the detective component from the well-known formula, focusing on the daily routine and internal anxieties of their heroine. There was no place for humor in the festival picture either, for two hours nothing happens on the screen that could cause a sincere smile. The result was a quiet drama, multiplied by fatigue.
“Zero Fucks Given” is a story about a lost girl who tries to escape from a family tragedy and seeks salvation in the sky. She shuns her family and takes extra shifts for the holidays, preferring casual connections to affection and relationships. At the same time, Cassandra is full of contradictions. The flight attendant longs to travel around the world, but does not use the opportunity to see Europe. She has a dream, but she does not make any attempts to achieve the goal. The heroine is satisfied with one-time dates and frequent changes of partners, but at the same time she is in desperate need of love and attention. In the end, the girl hides her emotions and feelings, but awkward chuckles and a look full of sadness betray despair and pain.
Zero Fucks Given (orig. Rien à foutre) premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021. The film won the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution Award and was nominated for the Critics’ Week Grand Prix. Written and directed by Emmanuelle Marre and Julie Lecustre, this is their first feature film. It turned out well for a debut, but in general it turned out rather weakly. While there are undoubtedly great moments in the film, the overall picture is boring. Somewhere the authors did not finish it, somewhere they dragged it out. The crumpled ending betrays the fatigue of the entire film crew, but, fortunately, this does not contradict the format of an indie drama about the everyday life of the working class.
The subtle acting of Adele Exarchopoulos comes to the fore, it is on her that the entire film rests. After her breakthrough role in the drama Life of Adele, the actress is delivering another strong performance that will undoubtedly be another achievement in her filmography. The young Frenchwoman is good at portraying heroines full of doubt and sadness. For novice directors, getting the winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in a film debut is a great success. Thanks to the sincere game of Exarchopoulos, the rolling novelty wants to forgive all the shortcomings.
In terms of plot, one of the main advantages of the picture is the stories of passengers shown through the prism of perception of the main character. Initially, Cassandra does not feel any compassion for a young girl who cannot get on the right flight due to the size of the backpack. After the promotion, the flight attendant becomes more empathic: she even loses her job because of being too kind to the sad lady on board. These wonderful fleeting episodes perfectly characterize both Kassandra personally and the entire system of air service. The behind the scenes of the world of the crew of a low-cost airline and the small tragedies of passengers catch and make this movie interesting, but after an hour of storytelling, the action begins to follow a different scenario. In the second part of the film, events unfold thousands of meters away, under the clouds. With a sharp decrease in height, the usual family drama begins, which in no way distinguishes this movie from others.
Zero Fucks Given is a typical indie drama. Beautiful, monotonous and optional. You can watch, of course, but it’s not so scary to miss.