I thought that the film Samba starring Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tahar Rahim, and Izia Higelin was going to be somewhat difficult for me to understand, being from a French perspective. It turned out to be excellent and thought-provoking. It's the type of film that sticks with you for an extended period of time after viewing it.
It tells the story of an African immigrant to France who finds love in the new land of opportunity. It paints the picture of an unskilled laborer who only has a good heart, a strong mind, and the can-do attitude necessary to make it in the Western world.
Omar Sy (Samba) is brilliant in this film. He told me he gained around 10 kilos (22 pounds) for the role, which proves he had the dedication required to make this role his own. And that he did.
I didn't think I'd be laughing when I saw this film, but the humor emerged, even through subtitles. It's a very well written script, but the acting helped get those words off the page and onto the screen for the viewer to enjoy. The friendship between Samba and Walid was one of the most realistic ones I've seen in film in a while.
They were buddies in the same shoes, but from different walks of life. The whole film I think did a good job of showing that the struggle is real for any and every person who just wants to make a good life for themselves and those they love. And that "different, but the same" feeling also came through with Sy and Gainsbourg's characters "Samba" and "Alice" and their relationship.
Not only are they a gorgeous pairing on-screen, but they also had a kind of chemistry that felt incredibly real. When I spoke to Omar Sy, he had this to say about his on-screen romantic companion on their chemistry.
"It wasn't difficult because she's a wonderful woman. She's really nice and a really interesting girl and she's an amazing actress. So it wasn't difficult to have that [chemistry]. I was so impressed to work with an actress like Charlotte. When I was 13 years old, I used to watch her movies growing up. So, I was so impressed to work with her. We got the chemistry like our characters, Samba and Alice. They look so different and come from different environments. They get so close, though. For Charlotte and I, it was kind of the same."
I would strongly recommend this film. It tells a story about the human condition and has a good stance on cultural issues that aren't often discuss. For that reason, I think it deserves a solid 7.5/10 rating.
Samba is in select theaters in LA and NY now.