When two very different women are forced together for a trip to Greece, old wounds are reopened, and dirty laundry aired as each day brings new challenges and hilarious mishaps. Written and directed by Marc Fitoussi, Two Tickets to Greece (Les Cyclades) follows childhood friends Blandine (Olivia Cote) and Magalie (Laure Calamy) as they reunite for the trip of a lifetime. Two Tickets to Greece also stars Kristin Scott Thomas.
When they were teens, Blandine and Magalie were the best of friends. Obsessed with the film The Big Blue, the teens have dreams of running off to the Greek Isles together to visit Amorgos, the island where the film takes place. But like many teens, they fall out, grow apart, and the dream gets put away. Blandine, now a mother, is still recovering from her divorce while Magalie, a perpetual child, is still chasing thrills. At the encouragement of her son Benji, Blandine and Magalie reunite with the hopes of rekindling their childhood friendship, but Magalie’s wild ways are too much for Blandine to handle and the friendship seems to be on ice once again.
Determined to get his mother back on her feet following the separation, Benji backs out of their mother-son trip to Amorgos and gives his ticket to Magalie. Soon enough, Blandine’s meticulously curated holiday is going far awry as Magalie’s carefree attitude begins to sabotage all of Blandine’s plans; a scam to save money sees the women abandoned on a semi-desolate island for days. Then, they sail past Amorgos altogether, landing in Mikonos where Blandine is introduced to Magalie’s jewellery making socialite friend Bijou (Kristin Scott Thomas). With all the mishaps and makeups, Blandine and Magalie learn that despite their differences, their friendship is maybe not as dead as they thought.
Two Tickets to Greece doesn’t shy away from the classic tropes of an ‘opposites-forced-together’ film, but this in no way takes away from its charm. Fitoussi’s story is brilliantly brought to life by Cote and Calamy who so embody their characters. Calamy’s vivacity as Magalie is infectious, while Cote’s reserved delivery of Blandine is endearing, especially when she starts to push her boundaries and let loose.
The moments where Blandine reflects on her friendship with Magalie as children or let Magalie’s wild personality infect her deliver some of the film’s best moments; a scene at a tiny, desolate inn sees Magalie dancing joyfully on the tables and patio to one of her favourite disco tunes while Blandine watches with gentle affection – seeing themselves not as they are now but as they were when they were kids.
The addition of Bijou to the story works well to bridge the gap between the two women, allowing Blandine to loosen up further while offering her insight into who Magalie is under the layers of bravado. Kristin Scott Thomas looks phenomenal, and her masterful control of the French language is extremely clear. The moments where she opens up to Blandine, offering her incredible vulnerability, balances the film’s comedy well.
If there is anything missing from Two Tickets to Greece, it’s more of Blandine and Magalie’s childhood moments. The young Blandine and Magalie, played by Leelou Laridan and Marie Mallia respectively, were both incredibly underutilised. The moments when they’re on screen together are full of energy and give the perfect window into who Magalie is but provides less insight into Blandine’s personality then, versus now.
Their falling out is attributed to a miscommunication around Blandine’s crush on one of their classmates, but the film eventually reveals the situation to be incredibly nuanced. The “big reveal” would have benefited from flashbacks where Magalie’s truth is artfully revealed to the viewer. As it stands in its current form, it loses some of its weight and feels like more of an afterthought.
Overall, Two Tickets to Greece is a really enjoyable film that centres the complex friendships of childhood and middle-age; wonderfully cast and acted, with a plot that’s digestible enough to watch again and again, Two Tickets to Greece is a great way to spend an afternoon at your local cinema.
See Two Tickets to Greece (Les Cyclades) on the big screen from Boxing Day.