Full Time review: a single mom’s frantic schedule

Laure Calamy in Full Time

Full Time (À plein temps) shows in frantic, fast-moving detail what life is like in the week of a life. Julie (Laure Calamy) is a single mom. She’s having a bad week because her ex has not sent the alimony money and the bank is calling her about her mortgage. He’s unreachable, her son’s birthday and the holidays are coming, and her job is far away in Paris.

That’s when Full Time (À plein temps) shows what happens during a transit strike. There are no buses, no trains, no public transportation within Paris. Julie lives in a village outside the city and even when everything works smoothly, it takes her hours to get to her demanding job as head chambermaid at a 5 star hotel. Now it’s nearly impossible.

Laure Calamy in Full Time
No trains are running? None?

Julie has been applying for jobs in marketing. It’s actually what she’s trained for and has a degree in. She gets a call for an interview during this week of no transportation.

To make the interview, she has to impose on her babysitter Madame Lusigny (Geneviève Mnich). Madame Lusigny is an older woman who can barely keep up with the two active youngsters, Nolan (Nolan Arizmendi) and Chloé (Sasha Lemaitre Cremaschi). She gets them to school and gives them snacks, but she’s not equipped to handle the long hours when Julie can’t make it on time.

To make the interviews, Julie also has to impose on her fellow maids. She needs them to cover for her and even lie for her. When she shows up late and her supervisor realizes she’s skipping out (to go to interviews!) she’s in danger of being fired.

Poster for Full Time with a running Laure Calamy

The music is pulsing, like running. Julie’s entire life feels like a race against time. She has to manage a birthday party for Nolan, possible firing at work, no response from her ex or her interview. It’s a dark moment for her. Almost tragic.

I really felt for her. The lives of single mothers are so difficult and his film paints a vivid picture of how hard it is, even without a transit strike. It was heart pounding and anxious every second of Julie’s day. It felt exhausting just watching it, imagine living it.

I thought the film showed the resilience and ingenuity of mothers everywhere who deal with hard circumstances. These are woman who fight through so much to keep their kids safe, healthy and educated. It could have been worse, but it could have been much easier, too. Life is a struggle for most people. Julie is a well-written and acted example of that fact.

You can see this French film on Prime Video.

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