Gallic director François Ozon
's idiosyncratic Ricky
represents an attempt to weld together two polar-opposite and seemingly incompatible genres: kitchen-sink realistic drama and high-concept Spielbergian
fantasy. Loosely inspired by a Rose Tremain short story, the tale opens on a council estate just east of Paris (in the Seine-et-Marne), where single mom Katie (Alexandra Lamy
) ekes out a low-key and fairly miserable existence. She earns her keep as a factory worker while glumly attempting to raise her seven-year-old daughter, Lisa (Mélusine Mayance
), on the side. Circumstances shift dramatically when Katie falls into an affair with a Spanish colleague, Paco (Sergi López
), but no one can guess just how dramatically. Together they conceive a son whom they name Ricky, who has a
physiological quirk that makes him a freak of nature, draws a considerable amount of attention from the press, and creates all kinds of impracticalities for the parents.