The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival has given SLO Review the opportunity to review some of the narrative and documentary feature films on its 2024 program schedule. Follow the links to purchase tickets to see these notable films for yourself.

A Simple Tale of Things Gone Right . . .

If you’re looking for a feel good film, Mr. Blake at Your Service is the one to see at this month’s SLO International Film Festival.

The film, in French with sub-titles, is directed by Gilles Legardinier (who authored the novel on which the film is based). It’s a well-acted and well-edited comedic drama that will make you laugh out loud and smile often. It may even bring a few tears to your eyes at its ending.

The story: a British financier visits a struggling French estate, the site of his first meeting with his recently deceased wife, and becomes—through a few situational twists—the butler of the house.

He joins a diminished French estate staff that includes a somewhat officious house manager/chef, a young single-and-pregnant house cleaner, and a hermetic grounds man. Also on board: the financially strapped widowed owner of the chateau and an aware white cat that views the ups and downs of his surroundings with more calm than his cohorts.

The butler quickly brings out the best of each, changing not only their bleak attitudes, but the direction of their lives. With a well-acted ensemble cast, Mr. Blake at Your Service provides a simple tale of things gone right with a few bumps in the road.

John Malkovich plays the moneyman playing the butler. He is wonderful in his best good-guy role. Emilie Dequenne and Fanny Ardant head the extraordinary French cast, who portray their characters with humor, heart, and dignity (well, almost dignity).

Spoiler alert: There is nothing wrong with a happy ending, especially after a very enjoyable 110 minutes.

:: Terry Heinlein

The screening of Mr. Blake at Your Service (run time 110 minutes) at the SLO International Film Festival is sponsored by Ascendo Coffee.