Promise at Dawn
At any stage, Romain Gary’s life was exceptional: from his impoverished childhood in Poland, and sun-soaked adolescence in Nice, to flying school in Africa during WWII. But he owes his compulsion for fame and desire for becoming a great writer to his mother, Nina, and to the unbridled and often stifling love she showered upon him throughout her life. French director Eric Barbier’s sprawling adaptation of the life of one of the 20th century’s greatest authors features two outstanding actors, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Pierre Niney, in the leading roles. Precise cinematography—in numerous locations worldwide—and meticulous art direction buttress the film’s potency while providing the effervescence this story demands.