Retro Review: The Spanish Apartment

This review originally appeared on brenthanson.net on September 22, 2004

Movie
Xavier (Romain Duris) is a graduate student from France who is trying to find his place in life. His parents sort of boss him around and his girlfriend (Amelie’s Audrey Tautou) isn’t the most pleasant towards him. He’s at a crossroads in his life and he’s confused at to what to do next. After taking some of his father’s advice, he decides to move to Barcelona to finish up his economics degree with an emphasis in Spanish.
On his way to the airport, he runs into Jean-Michael (Xavier De Guillebon), a brain surgeon, and his new wife Anne-Sophie (Judith Godrèche). After figuring out he doesn’t want to live with a friend of his mother, he gives Jean-Michael a call and moves in with them temporarily sleeping on the couch.
Eventually, he finds an apartment along with a few other “Erasmus” students all from different countries. Wendy (Kelly Reilly) is a quiet redhead from England. She’s also joined later by her loudmouth brother William (Kevin Bishop). Isabelle (Cécile De France) from Belgium is probably Xavier’s best friend in the house and also is studying economics. Alessandro (Federico D’Anna) doesn’t seem to do a whole lot other than hang around the house, but he’s from Italy nonethless. Rounding out the house is Lars (Christian Pagh), who is from the Netherlands, and Soledad (Cristina Brondo), who is from Spain, are a couple living together.
To be honest, not a whole lot happens in term of plot. The group of people get closer. There are fights, cheating, crushes, and just about everything else that goes along with any good episode of the Real World. Actually, the Real World analogy is almost appropriate for this movie. Much lke the Real World, most of the characters will be forgotten as soon as you turn the movie off, but it still is a cute, fun movie. I found myself relating to Xavier quite often. I’ve oftened found myself questioning if what I’m doing with my life is right. Part of me wishes I would’ve went over to Europe for a full year during college. Think of this movie as a European version of the Breakfast Club. It’s smarter than your average teen movie, but it keeps all the fun of one.

Video & Sound
While it didn’t look unbelievable, the look of this film was good. It actually looks like a well-shot indie film. Both 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1:33 full screen are available on this flipper. The language is in 5.1 French, but there is also quite a bit of Spanish and English thrown in as most of the characters are bilingual.

Extras
Nothing… not even a trailer.

Closing thoughts…
The movie tries to spit some knowledge on the viewer about how Europe needs to be more unified. In the end, it’s not an unbelievable movie or anything, but it’s better than 95% of movies you’ll see in theaters here on this side of the pond. It reminds me about the memories I have just hanging out with friends not doing much of anything.

Movie – 8
Video & Sound – 7
Extras – 0
Overall – 6