Samba (Omar Sy) is an illegal immigrant from Senegal who is trying to make ends meet in Paris and become a certified chef. Things get tough when his application is rejected and he is under obligation to leave France. But then he meets enigmatic Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) - a middle aged woman with problems of her own. As two build their friendship their both lives slowly, but steadily, go back on track. But will the one mistake from Samba’s past is going to finally catch up with him and destroy everything he is about to build?
SAMBA is a dramatic comedy about taking chances and rebuilding from scratch. A love story with the background of social French issues, it is designed to be both uplifting and a little sad. The immigration problem is showcased as the one impossible to repair and unorthodox methods the characters use in order to evade the rules seems like the only solution.
But it not the main focus of the film. SAMBA is trying to make the point, that even when the system lets you down it’s the real people and their willing to help each other that matter.
Directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano riding on the success of the INTOCHIBLES (their previous film, also with Omar Sy) still love to make movies full of optimism. SAMBA is all about dialogue and hilarious set pieces that will never let you down and always feel fresh. Omar Sy is a good performer, and is quick to win over your sympathy. Charlotte Gainsbourg is a little too reserved, but she is also quirky and as the film progresses we learn that there’s more to her character than we originally imagined.
Music by Ludovico Einaudi is repetitive, but suits the film’s tone of urgency to find a solution to the characters’ many problems.
SAMBA does not have many surprises in store, but it is designed to please. Walking out of the theatre you will feel a little better about yourself and the world you are living in, and this does count for something.