Although ostensibly about a French exchange student sharing an apartment with a multinational group of fellow students in Spain, L'Auberge Espagnol ("Spanish pudding," although the title is apparently different in every country) is actually a rather diverting essay about the unique experience offered by the Erasmus program.
The scope of the film gradually widens, so that while we may have begun with a French hero, by the end of the picture each character is familiar (even if we don't know them all that well). The final romp does not surround him, but shows all the roommates working together to assist the British student.
Happily enough, the film does not use the nationalities of the characters to pidgeonhole them, but rather just presents them as people. In fact, in the latter portion of the film, when a character's brother shows up mindlessly spouting out all the stereotypes the movie avoids, the effect on the viewer is analogous to the effect on the tenants in the apartment.
L'Auberge Espagnole is also laudable for not providing any easy answers. The central character never resolves many of his issues. His relationship with his girlfriend is rocky, and his understood but unconsummateable desire for his lesbian roommate is handled very well. Furthermore, the movie is very clear on the point that this a distinctive moment in his life... although he meets Erasmus students at one point later in his life, he has nothing to say to them.
Some of my old crew from Verizon are at a bar. They invited me and I didn't go for two reasons... the first being that I am broke, the second being that if I get drunk, I'll call her.
I wanted to go to Brooklyn tonight. I had to fight the almost irresistable urge while I was in the car. I know I can't... and I'm afraid of what I might find if I did go.
I can't get her out of my mind.
I have all this energy inside me that I don't know what to do with, but channeling it for positive use seems impossible while I am so wrapped up in what I am feeling.
There is no one who can help me right now but her, and she is not in a position to be able to do that. Thank goodness for my friends, who have given me the support and perspective to be able to get this far.
Why did it have to be like this?