In this unusual French film written and directed by Xavier Giannoli, Charlotte (Laura Smet) is a twenty year old who is in the midst of a torrid love affair with Paul (Nicolas Duvauchelle), a law student. She has not trusted him with the secret that she is ill and getting worse. When Charlotte is ordered by doctors to go to Paris for further tests, Paul goes with her and they settle into an apartment there. The doctors diagnose cancer of the lungs and suggest chemotherapy treatment. Occupying a twilight zone between the world of the healthy and the terminally ill, Charlotte experiences a mix of emotions including fear, anger, regret, and sadness. She desperately needs some nurturing love from Paul but he seems unable to give it. Then, Ninon (Marie Denarnaud), her distant cousin, comes to visit. She is a very erotic young woman who attracts many older men into her life. Charlotte loves and hates this capacity in her and immediately convinces herself that Paul is turned on by her. This fear, of course, drives the other two into each other's arms, despite the overwhelming guilt they feel about what they are doing to Charlotte.
Eager Bodies, like the film My Life Without Me, focuses on the difficult task of dying young. Both dramas enable us to see that there is no uniform or right way to journey on this burdensome path. Everyone dies in her or his own way. One part of Charlotte wants Paul to find love with Ninon, and another part wants to keep them apart. Although the fires of the libido are momentarily satisfying, they do not offer peace or comfort. Perhaps the most vivid image of what is cherished by dying individuals is a scene of Ninon holding Charlotte in her arms while lying in a bathtub. This magic moment offers a glimpse of that healing warmth that is the best solace the body can offer in the face of death.
Screened at the New Directors/New Films Festival, March/April 2004, New York City