Babou (Isabelle Huppert) is boldly eccentric and lively. She is someone who has never cared about social conventions. Then she is faced with the realization that her own daughter is ashamed of her and refuses to invite her to her wedding. This direct hit to her pride sees Babou try to regain her daughter's respect by starting anew. She accepts the challenge of selling time-sharing flats at the Belgian seaside during the off-season. And, mounts a final desperate attempt to prove her real worth and her motherly love to her daughter.
The Box Office takings for this film were minimal but the critics loved it. In fact I remember seeing Copacabana listed on a number of art house Cinemas in Perth years ago. Success is a subjective word.
Isabelle Huppert absolutely steals the show as Babou and for me the daughter's embarrassment is unfathomable. Admittedly, she is unreliable and prone to hysteria but mostly she is outrageous fun. Lolita Chammah plays Esmeralda, Babou's Daughter, and is Huppert's actual real-life daughter, which makes the dynamic interesting to watch.
Babou's character is directed with no cynicism from Fitoussi, in fact the lack of cynicism turns the film into something satisfying and sweet rather than portraying the main character as an out of touch Bohemian.
This film is about perspective. Esmeralda doesn't understand why her Mother can't just be with her. The Mother doesn't understand why her daughter just can't be more Bohemian.
The final scene at Esmeralda's wedding with Babou and the Brazilian dancers is awe inspiring. I cried a lot, as both Mother and Daughter (and Son in Law) accept each other's idiosyncrasies and just love each other.
There was controversy over the ending, as it felt they had run out of time. Also, the sentimental tying up of loose ends was considered a little cheesy.
Regardless, it's worth an hour and a half of your time to see Babou in all her splendour.