Diabolo Menthe (1977)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Coming-of-Age  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Craig Butler

Nostalgic films celebrating moments of youth tend to focus on boys rather than girls, probably because there have historically been more men involved the creation of motion pictures. Diane Kurys' Diabolo Menthe (Peppermint Soda) is one of those concerned with girls, and it's a gentle delight. Part of its appeal lies in Kurys' willingness to confront the pains as well as the joys of adolescence. The young girls deal realistically with an oppressive school environment, their conflicting feelings for their divorced parents, and the problems of not fitting in. The film also is refreshingly honest about sexual desire among adolescents. The movie has an engaging visual look, shot in an ever-so-slightly-grainy color that gives it a special atmosphere. Kurys does an admirable job of pulling strong performances from her young cast. Eleanore Klarwein, especially, is impressive, giving a well-realized performance as the younger child whose perceptivity still cannot allow her to totally take in all that is going on around her. Kurys' next outing, Cocktail Molotov, would also deal with teen-agers, although not as successfully as Diabolo.