The Freshmen | Chicago Reader
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The Freshmen

This dramedy from French MD turned filmmaker Thomas Lilti is the third in an unofficial trilogy, following Hippocrates: Diary of a French Doctor (2014), about a naive medical intern, and Irreplaceable (2016), about an aging country doctor. Now Lilti turns his attention to first-year medical students, focusing on two friends from different backgrounds. One is privileged, a surgeon's son (William Lebghil), while the other is less so (Vincent Lacoste), and has already failed his first year twice. At their school, and in accordance with the current French government's "closed number" system, approximately 2,500 freshmen compete for 329 spots in their second year. Lilti pokes at a cluster of issues here, including how unfairness inside the institution begins with the social inequalities outside of it. But the film's heart beats through its central, intense, and fragile relationship between two ambitious young men, the kind of friendship to which most viewers, regardless of their personal histories, can probably relate. In French with subtitles.

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