In the heart of Zero Fucks Given, a captivating exploration of the lives of budget airline flight attendants, we find ourselves thrust into the high-stakes world of emergency drills and first aid training. The film takes us on a journey where saving lives is broken down to clockwork precision. But beyond the life-saving skills, the essence of flight attending lies in customer service. Each member of the crew delivers their welcoming smiles, captured on camera, only to be scrutinized by an unseen judge, highlighting the harsh realities of the industry.
Directors Julie Lecoustre and Emmanuel Marre meticulously crafted their own airline, Wings, with a level of specificity and authenticity that makes it as recognizable as industry giants like Ryanair. The filming, both in the air and on the ground, offered extras actual flights to Barcelona, adding a touch of realism that permeates the entire movie. The film’s brilliance lies in its ability to showcase the callousness exhibited by characters like Cassandra (played convincingly by Adèle Exarchopoulos), not only towards customers but also reflecting the industry’s brutal treatment of its employees. In this world, individuality takes a back seat, as demonstrated when Cassandra casually mentions changing her appearance for the guests without a hint of hesitation.
Narratively, Zero Fucks Given struggles. Cassandra’s lack of direction becomes symbolic of the ruthless efficiency demanded in her profession. The film’s pivotal moments are subtly underplayed, leaving viewers grappling with a sense of understated intensity. At 110 minutes, the film’s focus on minute details becomes both taxing and commendable, offering an exhausting yet oddly admirable experience.
Zero Fucks Given unfolds in a jagged, unhurried manner, providing an unfiltered glimpse into the monotony and absurdism of flight attendant life. The largely amateur cast, as emphasized by the directors, adds a raw authenticity to the film. Adèle Exarchopoulos’ central performance is nothing short of mesmerizing, turning her character into a captivating enigma that breathes life into this world of routine and surrealism.
In Zero Fucks Given, viewers are invited to witness a gritty, unvarnished portrayal of the mundane existence behind the smiles and greetings of flight attendants. Despite its narrative shortcomings, the film stands as a unique exploration of the human experience within the confines of a demanding and dehumanizing industry