At Ellen's Age

As a flight attendant, Ellen (Jeanne Balibar) finds herself in constant motion. In her private life, however, she desires stability in the form of longtime boyfriend Florian (Georg Friedrich). When Florian confesses that he is having an affair and expecting a child from that union, Ellen loses the firm ground she had come to rely upon. Unexpectedly thrust into a midlife crisis and fearful of being alone, she must dig deep to unearth the inner strength she never knew she had. After a panic attack during preflight preparations, Ellen flees the plane and is subsequently fired. Adrift, alone, and broke, she has no choice but to open herself up to chance encounters and trust in the kindness of strangers. She falls in with a group of ardent college-age animal rights activists, developing a relationship with the moody Karl (Stefan Stern). Despite their obvious differences, including a significant age gap, each has qualities that complement the other. And Ellen finds her stormy soul being tempered by the idealism and focus of Karl and his friends. The muted hues and vaguely seventies style of the film nicely lend an air of the surreal or out-of-place to a story of one woman's determination to rediscover her sense of self and purpose. Director Pia Marais, meanwhile, hones in on the courage and optimism needed to leave life as one knows it and move forward to the next phase alone.

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