The stakes are high in Nicole Garcia’s “Going Away.” A distraught, deadbeat mom (Louise Bourgoin’s Sandra) owes £50,000 to her creditors. Her child’s teacher (Pierre Rochefort’s Baptiste) arrives to drop off her son at this most inopportune moment, yet he also harbors secrets and shames of his own.
More importantly, he comes from a wealthy family in France who can easily supply enough money for Sandra’s financial woes. The problem is … Baptiste has to go and ask for it. The process of importuning the family for the money he previously then reopens old and contentious wounds.
The main plot of the film itself seems like more than enough to generate tension without even factoring in the complex paternal/professorial relationship between Baptiste and young Mathias. (Or his romantic entanglement with Sandra, for that matter.) Yet everything in “Going Away” feels undercooked and underplayed. It’s like watching a filmed outline for a French take on Tennessee Williams. The bare bones of conflict are there, but the meaty dialogue and action that really reveals character dynamics is largely absent. B- /