Theo And The Metamorphosis: Review

Theo And The Metamorphosis: Review

Theo or TO (Theo Kermel) as he likes to call himself lives with his father, who he refers to as la père (Pierre Meunier) in the woods. TO’s father has a particularly strange way of looking after him and teaching about the ways of the world. Firstly, TO is taught to do tasks every day to build up his body so that he will be a samurai, something that TO dreams of becoming and has even grown a top knot to show his dedication to his goal.

TO’s father also says that he should avoid the news because all there is only tragedy and nothing that will help either of them. They also spend an inordinately unusual time together naked. Although unconventional, it seems that TO has been raised to be disciplined and determined to achieve his goals. However, when his father packs up his photography gear and leaves TO to go to an exhibition, TO’s mind starts to slip.

Theo and The Metamorphosis is a French arthouse movie written and directed by Damien Odoul. It also stars Theo Kermel, an actor with Down Syndrome, perhaps cast as a way to dispel the cliches and tropes often surrounding disabled people in cinema. This is not the tale of a young man with a childlike wonder of the world as he makes his own way, for better or worse Theo and the Metamorphosis is something altogether more unexpected.



Starting out almost as a documentary, TO narrates his own story whilst scenes play out almost silently between him and his father as they go about their days. There is something natural and yet peculiarly quirky about their behaviour, but the movie never suggests that what they are doing is bad or wrong.

TO has structure in his life and his monologues show that he is a deep thinker that has aspirations in life and they are never treated like flights of fancy or unrealistic dreams.

However, as TO’s father departs for work, TO’s loneliness starts to emerge and where the movie could talk about the deep loneliness that perhaps he has always felt, it loses its story. Doing so in favour of ever more increasingly provocative images involving male and female nudity and whatever else director Odoul can throw at the screen.

It almost seems like the entire thing was meant to lull its audience into a false sense of confidence before subverting things in every wrong way possible. What could have been a thoughtful exploration of dreams, aspirations and loneliness turns into nothing but a movie meant to shock just because it ran out of story.


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Joel found out that he had a talent for absorbing film trivia at a young age. Ever since then he has probably watched more films than the average human being, not because he has no filter but because it’s one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and enriching experiences that a person can have. He also has a weak spot for bad sci-fi/horror movies because he is a huge geek and doesn’t care who knows it.

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