Two Tickets to Greece / Les Cyclades

Ann Rennie 18 December 2023

When childhood friends Magalie and Blandine cross paths after many years, they decide to finally take their dream vacation to Greece.

TWO TICKETS TO GREECE/ LES CYCLADES. France, 2023. Starring Laure Calamy, Olivia Cote, Kristin Scott Thomas. Directed by Marc Fitoussi. 110 minutes. Rated M (Sexual references, nudity, coarse language and a scene of violence).

Our teenage selves are not so different to our adult personalities. This becomes part of the underlying theme in the French film Two Tickets to Greece. The passion and daring of teenage dreams and schemes give way to the realities of life experiences with its various wins and woes. Before one knows 30 years have passed and youthful bravado is hidden in diaries and fleeting memory. This is the story of the intensity and dreams of a teenage friendship, its prolonged interruption and the resurrection of that friendship a lifetime later.

Set in Paris in 2019, Blandine (Côte) is a single mother and radiographer still mourning the loss of her marriage. She is, as her name suggests, bland and life has lost its sparkle. Her chief joy is her 20-year- old son, Benji, who despairs at his mother’s continued low moods and arranges for her to meet her former best friend, Magalie. Magalie (an effervescent Calamy) is impulsive, fearless and cheerful and not averse to a little scam here and there to keep herself going.

The first reunion does not go well but Benji persists and arranges two tickets to Greece for the pair so they can visit the island of Amorgos. As teenagers they dreamed of visiting this island where Luc Besson’s film The Big Blue was shot. Naturally, the film features a suite of idyllic Greek beaches, island and taverna scenes – the very images that invite the viewer to slough off the past and embrace a new ardour for living.

Blandine is organised and likes to know where she is going. Magalie is chaotic and makes the best of things wherever she ends up. This puts a strain on the couple as they miss ferries and land in isolated villages. The push and pull of reshaping their friendship comes to the fore; Magalie lives in the moment and Blandine does not like surprises. Yet, it is Magalie, a hurt child who still seems to exude an adolescent curiosity, who warms up Blandine and loosens her up to let go of her emotional rigidity and embrace the unexpected. The sending of a congratulatory postcard to her former husband and his new wife on the birth of their child initiates a thawing of her heart and a letting go of grief.

Each of the three characters, including Bijou (Scott Thomas) carry grief of a different nature and deal with this in different ways. Scott Thomas exudes her usual patrician cool but here she plays with the hippy vibe and, like Magalie, lives for the moment as she awaits the result of a biopsy. Her partner, Dimitris, an artist, played by Panos Koronis, is not quite an ageing Greek god but provides her with deep and steady support. Shots of the Greek islands will make you want to purchase your own two tickets to these alluring hotspots.

One of the lovely flashbacks in this film is in the taverna scene where Magalie turns up the music and dances exuberantly. She disappears behind a pillar and emerges from the other side as her teenage self as Blandine reconnects with the spirit of their youthful optimism. Recognisable disco classics provide an upbeat track as Blandine and Magalie rekindle their friendship and learn some lessons in graceful acceptance and the possibility of change for the better.

Not quite a female road movie, but an exploration of female friendship, its blessings and occasional bruises. With the beautiful Greek islands and the invitation to unwind and recharge, this is a movie that gently affirms the importance of friendship – and fun!


Released 26 December



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