BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, FRIENDS FOR LIFE – Review and Giveaway

aka is a French Children’s film trilogy that I have truly loved and I am sad to say goodbye to. If we go back to the very start is a novel by Cécile Aubry about a six-year-old boy named Sébastien and his dog Belle, a Great Pyrenees, who live in a village in close to the Italian border. This was published in 1965. It became a in the same year and in the 80s the Japanese made an anime version of the story.

The Scottish band of the same name is named after their love of the story and in 2013 the first movie released. Over the last 5yrs we have seen Belle and Sebastian, plus the actors, grow up and they end the series with another wonderful children’s film.

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, FRIENDS FOR LIFE is releasing to most art-house cinemas in Australia on June 28th from Icon Film Distribution. It runs for 97mins and is rated PG. You will find it at most Dendy or Palace Cinemas and I highly recommend you check out local directories to track it down. The good news is that we have 5x double passes up for grabs – find out how to win at the end of this review.

 

Belle and Sebastian, Friends for Life Félix Bossuet and Belle image
and Belle

 

BY JASON KING

BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, FRIENDS FOR LIFE – THE FINAL STORY IN THIS WONDERFUL TRILOGY:

PREVIOUS MOVIES IN THE SERIES:

BELLE ÉT SEBASTIEN REVIEW

BELLE ÉT SEBASTIEN: THE ADVENTURE CONTINUES REVIEW

Picking up where its predecessor left off, Sebastian (Félix Bossuet) is now aged 12, and has decided not to follow his father and Angelina to Canada, choosing instead to remain in the French Alps with César () to watch over Belle who’s now become mother to three beautiful pups.

When a stranger arrives claiming to be Belle’s rightful owner, Sebastian finds himself in a position where he must protect his best friend and her little ones.

The second feature by César award-winning actor-turned-director (Blind Date, AF FFF2016), BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, FRIENDS FOR LIFE comes from the pen of Juliette Sales and Fabien Suarez who wrote the other two films in the series. It also rekindles the magic of original stars, Félix Bossuet and Tchéky Karyo, as Sebastian and César respectively.

 

Belle and Sebastian, Friends for Life Clovis Cornillac image
Clovis Cornillac

 

I WILL MISS THIS CUTE FRENCH CHILDREN’S ADVENTURE:

Belle and Sebastian is basically French Lassie or French Skippy. It is a cuteness overload kid with his as-cute if not cuter dog. It has an extra cute bonus in the location. The cinematography of the French Alps makes it beyond cinema worthy, it is a film I could just keep watching in the hope and fantasy of being in that location with that dog. The Great Pyrenees are such a wonderful bread, imagine an oversized white labrador and you are on the money.

Each film has had a different director but the main cast has not changed for all three films. BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, FRIENDS FOR LIFE is at times incredibly cheesy and the acting from the lead, Félix Bossuet, is basically Daniel Radcliffe in the very first Harry Potter movie but he makes up for it in cuteness. It is one of those films that deals with difficult issues but presents it for children. It’s mostly saccharine in its delivery but a series of films that will each have you smiling by the end. There is humour and heart and a lot of beauty and there is even a bit of comedy adults will enjoy. You will notice by this instalment that poor Belle is getting a little long in the tooth but she still manages to be the reluctant hero keeping Sebastian out of trouble.

The evil bad guy in this movie is also the director. Clovis Cornillac plays Joseph and as a child I would have been terrified of the dark clothes and big beard, something I am more resembling now in my mid years haha.

 

Belle and Sebastian, Friends for Life Félix Bossuet and Tchéky Karyo image
Félix Bossuet and Tchéky Karyo

 

WONDERFUL CAST:

Félix Bossuet is possibly the cutest kid on film of all time. His acting is less than impressive but besides one horrible scene that needed more takes in BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, FRIENDS FOR LIFE his acting has developed since the first instalment five years ago. Most people will recognise Tchéky Karyo as César, the bumbling, often times hilarious and truly loving “grandpa” of Sebastian.

Director Clovis Cornillac plays a wonderful one dimensional bad guy and I wished we had some more of Pierre (Thierry Neuvic) and Angélina (Margaux Chatelier) who were more prominent in the earlier outings. Urbain (André Penvern) will be an audience favourite as the mayor who cops a bad rap but always comes through in the end. He makes a funny sidekick to César. Their car scene was a favourite in this.

 

Belle and Sebastian, Friends for Life André Penvern and Tchéky Karyo image
André Penvern and Tchéky Karyo

 

IN CONCLUSION:

I don’t want to conclude a  movie review on the final BELLE AND SEBASTIAN movie. If you have kids and want to introduce them to their very first subtitled movie this is the one to do it with. Or get the first two in the series and watch them first and then catch this at the cinema. BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, FRIENDS FOR LIFE is a wonderful final movie for one of the best kid/dog duos of all time. Farewell.

 

 

 TICKETS TO SEE BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, FRIENDS OF LIFE:

With special thanks to ICON FILM DISTRIBUTION to win one of the five double passes to see BELLE AND SEBASTIAN, FRIENDS FOR LIFE you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage). Further to this you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following questions:

What is your favourite children’s/animal movie and why?

If you do not have social media then you can still enter, leave your entry below in the comments and then email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).

This is a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges. 

The prizes will be drawn on or before June 26th. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this  is only available to Australian residents.

 

 

YOUR CRITIC:

 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.