Pascal Alex-Vincent’s debut feature looks at a fraught brotherly bond. Having recently lost the mother they never met, identical twins Quentin (Victor Carril) and Antoine (Alexandre Carril) leave their baker father behind and make the journey to Spain to say their final goodbyes. Due to their lack of funds, the eighteen year olds end up hitch-hiking from their small French village to Barcelona. Siblings always argue, but the tension is central to Quentin and Antoine’s loving connection. A true case of they can’t stand being together, but apart is even more daunting. A twisting an turning emotional rollercoaster of a journey sees the pair separate en route with varied consequences.
From its bizarre animated opening sequence to the films over-dramatic yet believable conclusion Give Me Your Hand is simple yet compelling. Though at times the sibling sparring seems overblown, with Quentin and Antoine seemingly too old for their constant play fighting, the honesty in both the Carril’s performances makes for heart wrenching viewing. Along their route, the pair behave as any attractive teenager may be expected to. From sharing partners, to experimenting with their sexual identities it is clear that their true love is currently for each other. Whilst others come and go, they require the other as a constant.
A film of escapism rather than true meaning.
The major flaw with Give Me Your Hand lies not with the twins, but rather the surrounding characters. With the story so focused on the central two, everyone else seems two-dimensional and insignificant. Samir Harrag tries his best as Hakim but is given little to work with. From the first time we meet Hakim on the back of a lorry helping Antoine stack hay it is clear that he will provoke the breakdown of the brother’s relationship. An obvious device, it doesn’t provoke questions but rather seems an easy way to cause further rift between the pairing. Far more interesting would have been to further explore Clementine’s (Anais Demoustier) brief fling with both brothers which is simply overlooked.
The insistance that entering the wider world revolves around sexual exploration is limiting. The hitchhike centres on the various flings along the way rather than really dealing with the twins emotional journey. There are several shots of the sparring brothers contrasted with tender moments, but they are only a slight insight into what is really happening.
Give Me Your Hand is nevertheless compulsive viewing. The dynamic between the Antoine and Quentin is at times explosive. As eighteen-year-olds embarking on their debut in the adult world, the pair are naively excited and competitively scared. Give Me Your Hand’s message appears blurred and is primarily a film of escapism rather than true meaning.