Tropic Sprockets / My Donkey, My Lover &I

By Ian Brockway

“My Donkey, My Lover & I” directed by Caroline Vignal and loosely based on a memoir by Robert Louis Stevenson, is lighthearted warm and comical. With swift storytelling and sweeping visuals of a famed French mountain range, the story engages as it delights the eye.

[My Donkey, My Lover & I is playing at the Tropic Cinema all week. For show times, check]

Antoinette (Laure Calamy) is romantically involved with a married man Vladimir (Benjamin Lavernhe). Vladimir promises a week in the Cévennes mountain range but then backs out.

Antoinette goes anyway, tracing Stevenson’s steps when the famous author was stricken with a romantic dilemma. Antoinette is given a donkey during her hike and the residents see Antoinette as a folk hero of sorts.

Mayhem ensues when Vladimir and his family show up at a camp site unexpectedly.

What starts out as a kind of “Bridget Jones’ Diary” evolves into a far more entertaining and endearing study of a shared bond between a human and an animal, or in this case, a self-deprecating teacher and a donkey. 

Patrick the donkey is a vibrant character in his own right and his scenes have the laugh out loud humor and sight gags of a classic Marx Brothers comedy. 

The film has a poignant and philosophical quality too. With each emotional venting from Antoinette, Patrick the donkey can only stare back with open impassive eyes, absorbing all drama and pain.

The cinematography alone by Simon Beaufils, full of color and movement will plunge you into the realm of Cezanne and van Gogh.

If that is not enough the climax of “My Donkey, My Lover & I,” underscores the very real bond that we share with animals. In a highly satisfying and iconic scene on par with the films of Roberto Benigni, one is sure to shed a tear.

Effervescent and light with great ebullience, this film is unpretentiously feel-good with a simple and innocent spirit for all creatures, be they human or animal. 

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