Other People’s Children review – delicate tale of fertility and love

The biological clock, so often used as a blunt weapon to bludgeon women for their various life choices, is here handled with delicacy, intelligence and warmth. This elegantly bittersweet French-language drama by Rebecca Zlotowski has much to recommend it, but foremost is a radiant Virginie Efira in the central role. She plays Rachel, a 40-year-old teacher who is fulfilled and happy in her life, and who is newly in love with Ali (Roschdy Zem), a fellow student in her guitar class.

To an effortlessly sophisticated score of bustling chamber music, Rachel fully embraces the romance and all that comes with it – including a growing relationship with Ali’s young daughter. But this serves to alert her to the fact that she too would like to be a parent. And as her gynaecologist (veteran documentary film-maker Frederick Wiseman is unexpected in the role) tells her, time is running out. Deftly written, directed with a light hand and acted with honesty and heart, the picture captures moments of acute sadness without ever sinking into sentimentality.