One Fine Morning

France/Germany 2022, 112 mins
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve

SPOILER WARNING The following notes give away the film’s ending.

The light-touch naturalism of Mia Hansen-Løve films is always rooted in autobiography. One Fine Morning stems from her experience of caring for her father as he succumbed to Benson’s syndrome, a rare variant of Alzheimer’s that brings on a debilitating visual impairment. Léa Seydoux plays Sandra, an everywoman Parisian mother to the spirited young Linn (Camille Leban Martins). Sandra is constantly on the move (MHL characters tend to spend a lot of time walking), a result of juggling caring responsibilities and working as a translator. She is a single mother – Linn’s father having died five years previously – and a doting daughter, as her own father slowly forgets himself.

To flesh out this slow-burn domestic heartbreak, Hansen-Løve asks: what if, at the same time as losing someone, you were gaining someone else? One fine morning in the park she runs into an old friend, Clément (Melvil Poupaud), who swiftly becomes her lover. Their relationship is hardly smooth sailing. He is married with a child of his own. Sandra must deal with two men who hold her in confused regard.

As Sandra’s father, Georg, Pascal Greggory turns in a phenomenal performance that serves as the heart of the film. Before his illness, Georg was a brilliant academic whose most treasured possessions were his books. These books still line his apartment, lovingly arranged by colour. They serve as a visual representation of the world he is now locked out of by his failing eyesight. It is not Hansen-Løve’s style to labour sentiment: she presents information in a scene without underlining anything and lets the viewer draw their own conclusions.

Sandra’s desire for release from service to loved ones is never explicitly stated, but it is implied in the way she embraces sexual healing. Clément has one of the world’s most romantic jobs: he is a cosmochemist who travels the world collecting extraterrestrial dust from the earth and the sea. While Sandra has been tied to Paris, Clément has been encountering a sea leopard on an Arctic floe. He invites her to visit his laboratory where, after inspecting various gadgets, Sandra inspects his tonsils with her tongue. He represents a wider world of possibilities by the very nature of what he does.

As their affair proceeds full steam ahead, suspension of disbelief is required to buy Seydoux as a woman who, pre- Clément, thought that her love life was over. Even a severe haircut and a plain wardrobe cannot suppress her raw sex appeal; imagine Marilyn Monroe in 1953 playing a dowdy widow. Hansen-Løve’s gentle visual language favours unknown or low-key actors, such as Lola Créton in Goodbye, First Love (2011) or Félix de Givry in Eden (2014). Still, Seydoux does all she can to pull against her innate smoulder in a performance that is fully free of affect.

One Fine Morning is talkier than a lot of Hansen-Løve’s work, for a long time leaving no room for the lulls that would enable its emotional themes to land. When those lulls do finally appear, then, everything that has so far taken place stealthily culminates in a moment of sublime emotional synthesis. One such moment occurs when Sandra is on a train after checking out a new nursing home for her father. She is leaning against a window when she receives a text from Clément, so we see her face twice – directly and reflected in the glass – as it cycles through ten emotions in ten seconds. Joy, relief and exhaustion struggle for expression. Love is back; illness still lurks.

A theme that crops up in Goodbye, First Love, Things to Come (2016), Maya (2018) and Bergman Island (2021) is that love is a fire that burns brightly but always dies. Hansen-Løve presents Clément without judgement (as she does with all her characters) while showing how Sandra suffers as he comes and goes, unsure of when, and indeed if, he will return. Additional risks are created by Linn’s adoration of him. When the trio is together, there seems to be hope that families can grow, not just shrink. Even more prominent than romance as a recurring Hansen-Løve theme is the sense of a person forging a path forward amid chronic uncertainty. One Fine Morning ends on a freeze-frame; it may be a surprisingly cheesy choice, but it nonetheless captures a fleeting moment of promise.
Sophie Monks Kaufman, Sight and Sound, May 2023

Director Mia Hansen-Løve on ‘One Fine Morning’
Mia Hansen-Løve’s films might best be described as ‘autofiction’, although the stories she tells aren’t always her own. Past features have drawn on the lives of her uncle (All Is Forgiven, 2007) and mother (Things to Come, 2016). Bergman Island (2021), meanwhile, visited her own romantic life. One Fine Morning marries the two, yoking the romantic reawakening of forty-ish translator and single mother Sandra (a luminous Léa Seydoux) with her married friend (Melvil Poupaud) to the slow demise of her philosopher father (Pascal Greggory), the result of a neurological disorder that is robbing him of sight and language. Sorrow and hope interlace in Hansen-Løve’s most intimate film yet, which stars her grandmother and incorporates writings by her father.

We’ve met versions of these characters before, particularly in Things to Come . Do you think of this as a sequel of sorts to that film?

When I started writing it, I thought the film would be part of a diptych with Things to Come. Later, I thought it actually connects with Goodbye First Love [2011] because they are probably my two most autobiographical films. And then later still, the film it felt closest to was All Is Forgiven, which is another film about a relationship between a father and a daughter and the intuition that, at some point, the father will disappear. In the end, I think my films are all connected to one another because they are so personal.

Both Things to Come and One Fine Morning start in summer and end at Christmas. There’s a coda here, though, which takes place in the spring. What inspired that?

Because it was a darker film, it was important for me while I was doing One Fine Morning to have some light at the end. In fact, the last scene is where the film really started for me, and that’s the one that is the closest to reality. My father was actually in the very same nursing home that we see in the film, and I happened at one point to go there and walk the steps up to the Sacré-Coeur with my boyfriend and my daughter. In that moment, where sorrow is intertwined with the possibility of happiness, I had the feeling of abandoning my father, but at the same time I needed to abandon him in order to live my life.

In the film, Pascal Greggory reads a text written by your father, ‘Ballade en maladie rare’. It’s a very powerful moment, a kind of resurrection for him.

It was very important to me that there was going to be a moment where we hear this voice, which is not only my father’s voice, but Pascal’s too. It made me sad when I started writing the film that the one film I was going to do that was directly inspired by my father, it would be about him being sick, because that reflected only the last part of his life. Before then, he had been so different. In a way, it made me angry, when I wanted to make the film at this point where it was too late and where the disease was taking up so much space. My father was somebody who wrote very well; it was very important for me that there was a moment where we would at least get a notion of who he was, back when he could speak.

You’re a huge admirer of Éric Rohmer and both Pascal Greggory and Melvil Poupaud have appeared in his films. How was it to work with them?

I’ve admired them both in different films by Rohmer. A Summer’s Tale [1996], with Melvil Poupaud, is maybe one of the first Rohmer films I saw, but my connection to it – it’s not even to do with Rohmer, really. It’s a connection to teenagehood. I would spend some of my holidays in Dinard, the same place where they shot A Summer’s Tale. It very much felt like [Poupaud] was part of my world, but I’d never met him [before]. I think he actually hates being always associated with this one role, and I understand that completely – he’s been in many other films where he was great. So I tried to not insist too much on my love for Rohmer when we were making the film. It’s thanks to both actors that, even if the film was inspired by things that were painful, I could still enjoy making it. Pascal Greggory’s character [is] not an easy part [to play], and he trusted me completely. He knew that because I knew this illness so well, I could help him find the right tone and music in his way of talking. That trust made everything so easy.
Interview by Catherine Wheatley, Sight and Sound, May 2023

Rye Lane
From Mon 27 Mar
From Mon 27 Mar
God’s Creatures
From Fri 31 Mar (Q&A with actors Emily Watson and Toni O’Rourke on Fri 31 Mar 18:10)
One Fine Morning
From Fri 14 Apr
Sick of Myself
From Fri 21 Apr

Dance Craze
From Mon 27 Mar
The Age of Innocence
From Fri 31 Mar
Top Hat
From 7 Apr
Raging Bull
From 14 Apr
Young Soul Rebels
From Fri 28 Apr
The Passion of Remembrance
From Fri 28 Apr

Never miss an issue with Sight and Sound, the BFI’s internationally renowned film magazine. Subscribe from just £25*
*Price based on a 6-month print subscription (UK only). More info:

Welcome to the home of great film and TV, with three cinemas and a studio, a world-class library, regular exhibitions and a pioneering Mediatheque with 1000s of free titles for you to explore. Browse special-edition merchandise in the BFI Shop.We're also pleased to offer you a unique new space, the BFI Riverfront – with unrivalled riverside views of Waterloo Bridge and beyond, a delicious seasonal menu, plus a stylish balcony bar for cocktails or special events. Come and enjoy a pre-cinema dinner or a drink on the balcony as the sun goes down.

Enjoy a great package of film benefits including priority booking at BFI Southbank and BFI Festivals. Join today at

We are always open online on BFI Player where you can watch the best new, cult & classic cinema on demand. Showcasing hand-picked landmark British and independent titles, films are available to watch in three distinct ways: Subscription, Rentals & Free to view.

See something different today on

Join the BFI mailing list for regular programme updates. Not yet registered? Create a new account at

Programme notes and credits compiled by Sight and Sound and the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email