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Two Tickets to Greece Review: A Charming Holiday

Three women and a man take a selfie in front of a restaurant in the film Two Tickets to Greece

Two Tickets to Greece is a gentle and fluffy comedy, as relaxing as a Greek holiday, about two former friends reuniting for a vacation.

Director: Marc Fitoussi
Genre: Comedy
Run Time: 110′
Where to watch: in UK & Irish cinemas from May 17; now on digital & VOD in the US

As illustrated in the new french comedy Two Tickets to Greece, childhood friendships are a curious thing. They are often not established through a similarity of interests or value systems as they are as an adult. They are not even based on a compatibility of temperament. As a child, friendships are developed through proximity.

They are formed through parents setting up playdates with the children of their own friends, or being the only two kids of the same age living on the neighborhood block, or the sheer happenstance of sitting next to each other in class. 

Blandine and Magalie met at school and most likely sat next to each other in class. They are a true odd couple, as different as it’s possible for two human beings to be. Blandine is aptly named, a hard-shelled fuddy-duddy, while Magalie is a disco-obsessed free spirit. The teenage Blandine and Magalie do have one thing in common; inspired by 1988’s The Big Blue, which they caught on the TV, they both dream of visiting the Greek Island Amorgos

Decades pass and the two women are no longer friends, having not spoken since Magalie flirted with Blandine’s high school crush. Now they are nearing middle age, and Blandine (Olivia Côte), a bitter radiology technician, is emotionally reeling from a contentious divorce. When Blandine is unpacking with her son they find a box of old belongings and she tells him about her once-upon-a-time friend Magalie (Laure Calamy). Worrying about the loneliness of his recently divorced mother, he tracks down Magalie on social media, and invites her along on a trip to Amorgos. Magalie may or may not be a music critic, and appears to be couch surfing while in between apartments and boyfriends. 

Predictably, the trip goes awry. Blandine’s minutely prepared itinerary is thrown out the window when Magalie accidentally makes them miss a train stop. Hoping to scoop up every possible experience, Magalie leads them through the Cyclades Islands, from hitchhiking to ferries to sleeping under the stars. All the while Blandine is a stick in the mud, wondering why she hasn’t ditched Magalie already, but reluctantly interested in becoming once again acquainted with her old friend. 

Three middle aged women sit on a blue outdoors sofa, the one in the middle smoking a cigarette, in front of a white wall with light blue windows in the film Two Tickets to Greece
Olivia Côte as Blandine, Kristin Scott Thomas as Bijou and Laure Calamy as Magalie in Two Tickets to Greece (Greenwich Entertainment)

Two Tickets to Greece is a true two-hander, built around the dynamic of the odd couple pair. As such, it lives and dies on the strength of its characterizations and performances. Magalie is the life of the party on whichever beach she stands, and so is Laure Calamy. After delivering intense and rich dramatic performances in Full Time and The Origin of Evil, she displays an enthralling knack for comedy. Her Magalie is charismatic, diverting all of the light in a room towards her, and beguilingly irresponsible. She is the sort of person who you would let not pay you back even after she promised, because you know that there is no malice or conniving behind their flightiness.

Côte is a winning screen partner for Calamy, anchoring the scenes with depth and pathos. While it’s hard to understand why anyone wouldn’t want to hang out with Calamy, Côte makes the viewer see the pain being masked by Blandine’s rigidness. 

As Blandine and Magalie make their way around the Aegean Sea, the scenery is picturesque and captured lovingly. The filmmaking is patient and the editing finds a relaxing rhythm, like the swaying back and forth of the ocean waves. While Two Tickets to Greece flirts with darker themes, there’s a weary gentleness with which they are presented that puts the viewer at ease. That will be dealt with later, for right now we are listening to disco on the beach. It’s a movie that’s in no hurry to get anywhere fast, content to hang out and provide its audience with a virtual holiday to the Cyclades Islands.

Get it on Apple TV

Two Tickets to Greece will be released in UK & Irish cinemas from May 17, 2024. In the US, the film is now available to watch on digital and on demand.

Two Tickets to Greece: Trailer (Greenwich Entertainment)

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