"On My Way": Beauty on the Road

Emmanuelle Bercot's charming On My Way is of a piece with last year's The Great Beauty: Both are state-of-the-unions for their respective countries of France and Italy, and steeped in their nation's past film styles. Where the Italian film was an evocation of Fellini at his lushest, On My Way — which could also be called The Great Beauty — has more of a breezy, semi-improvised Truffaut feel. Sixty-something Bettie (Catherine Deneuve) is a former Miss France contestant and current restaurateur who, after getting dumped by her lover for a much younger model, decides to shuck it all and go driving nowhere in particular. During her episodic journey, she gets to know her estranged grandson (Nemo Schiffman) and wrestles with mixed feelings about her past, including an impending reunion of past beauty queens. On My Way doesn't dwell much on how she looked when she was younger, partially because Deneuve is never not going to be one of the most stunning creatures on the planet, but also because she's never been just a pretty face — it's her ability to project both strength and vulnerability that makes her compelling at any age. There's a genuine, multifaceted person behind that beautiful face, and getting to hang out with her in On My Way is a joy.

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