Poor little Ivan (Lysandre Robic) is only five years old. He’s living his five year old best life – playing games while he’s completely ignored by the new babysitter (Hélène Vienne) — Score! That is, until the babysitter invites her creepy boyfriend over and they decide they need the whole place to themselves. She forces Ivan to take a bath – which any five year old would squirm about. Ivan isn’t alone in the bathtub, though, and through the power of perseverance (and candy) he makes a new friend who will help solve his babysitter problem for good.
Under the Lather (Sous La Mousse in the original French) is a delightful, decadent thirteen minutes of fun, joy, and yes – even horror. Fairytale meets everyday life in a delicious intersection of fun and fantasy. Sprinkles of modern classics of French cinema like Amelie and Delicatessen add a colorful pop to a childhood tale that borrows more from Del Toro than Disney. Shape of Water to Splash and back again, with a City of Lost Children-esque child star who effortlessly portrays both innocence and mischief, Under the Lather is full of breathtaking joy.
Don’t get it confused though – there is a horror overlay to the fantastic frivolity of Under the Lather – a poetic justice which is delivered with a swift hand and some very sharp teeth. Hooting, hollering, cheering victory for us, the viewer, and for little Ivan. That’ll teach that babysitter to turn off his video games right as he’s about to win! Bravo, Ivan, and Bravo, Under the Lather.