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A young woman works at her father's butcher shop while studying as a beauty therapist. | By a Hair

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By a Hair is used with permission from Lauriane Escaffre and Yvonnick Muller in partnership with MyFrenchFilmFestival. Learn more at

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Elodie works at the family butcher shop under the watchful eye of her father Francis, who very much wants his daughter to follow his footsteps into the family business.

But Elodie has other aspirations, and in a few days, she will take the hair removal final to get her diploma from beauty school and become an esthetician. She's worked hard and practiced her new craft, and the only thing standing in her way is the final test. But she risks failing altogether when she can't secure a model for the demonstration part of her exam.

Written and directed by Lauriane Escaffre and Yvonnick Muller, this warm, relatable family comedy mines its humor not from gags, antics or non-stop banter, but from being grounded in real emotions and fully realized characters with recognizable, often conflicting desires, temperaments and dilemmas.

Shot with a gentle and muted sense of naturalism, it captures the textures and sights of everyday small-town life, as well as the nuances of Elodie and Francis's family life. The father-daughter duo bicker, snap and needle at one another, though rarely venomously, and actors Gregory Gadebois and Madeleine Baudot play off one another wonderfully, forming a believable, well-worn family unit. Their dialogue feels lived-in and familiar, and the storytelling takes its tempo and pacing from the unfolding of beats in their relationship, guided by the two excellent lead performances.

Biting yet funny domestic scenes often play out, showing not just the characters and their relationship, but also the unspoken reactions and emotions they provoke in one another, especially as they tiptoe around the grief and absence of Elodie's mother. An initially gruff Francis reveals in these small moments his desire for tenderness and connection with his increasingly independent daughter, but Elodie is too absorbed with her exam to notice. But father and daughter reach an unusual rapprochement, ultimately proving the durability of family bonds, even in the face of diverging paths in life.

"By a Hair" becomes funnier as the story unfolds, culminating in a hilarious final sequence. It's made even more effective because it continues at the realistic, lifelike pace of the earlier part of the film, rather than ratcheting up the pacing or heightening the silliness. By staying true to its initial, emotionally observant approach, the storytelling also slowly but surely draws attention to the core of familial love that is the glue between Elodie and her father.

"By a Hair" is ultimately dedicated to the filmmakers' fathers and "their awkwardness [and] their love." And in the end, this heartwarming film is a testament to the brusque yet durable way fathers love their children: with loyalty and sacrifice, and a bittersweet pride in their children's independence and even if it means letting them spread their wings to fly free and away.

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A young woman works at her father's butcher shop while studying as a beauty therapist. | By a Hair


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