The Adopted (15)

Starring: Mélanie Laurent, Marie Dénarnaud

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The Independent Culture

Girlfriend-in-a-coma movie suffering from a bad case of the cutes.

Actress Mélanie Laurent's directorial debut features a sickly opening montage of family togetherness and never recovers from it.

It revolves around musician and single mum Lisa (Laurent) and her adopted, bookish sister Marine (Marie Dénarnaud), who've been closer than blood since childhood; when the latter falls for hunky restaurant critic Alex (Denis Menochet), it triggers an estrangement that will be tested by a tragedy down the line.

Laurent is much too fond of sentimental arm-twisting, most of it centred on Lisa's four-year-old moppet, and her film keeps stumbling over the obstacles of preciousness – these people are mildly bohemian, pleasant, but we never much care one way or another, even when heartbreak bursts out of nowhere.

There are few things more soul-destroying than the movie which insists on how much you should love its characters.