A FILM BY François Ozon

Is the baby who has wings an angel or a monster?

Is the baby who has wings an angel or a monster? That is the question raised by François Ozon in his mysterious film “Ricky”. The film blends together a touching and miraculous fairy-tale and a harsh reality of the ordinary French woman who’s an unwed mother.


The action starts rather abruptly. A woman in her thirties, desperate and exhausted, seems to be at her wit’s end: she’s all alone, two children for her to take care of. And here comes the decision to send the little baby to an asylum for some period of time. Who knows, that might be just a cry of despair…

The outcome remains a mystery as the action moves back in time. It becomes possible to get acquainted with all the details of the story presented. The plot develops without any time shifts then. The woman, Katie by name, lives with her little daughter Lisa; and their life is quite insipid. The girl is wise beyond her years, shrewd and smart − these features of hers let her be a help for Katie.

Katie is a worker at some chemical factory and that is where she meets a Spanish man, Paco. Two lonely souls, two lonely hearts… Are they trying to satisfy the craving for caress and tenderness? It’s hard to say so, as the couple has sex in the public toilet of the factory they work at. Though not shown directly, some affection appears between them.

Here Katie and Paco begin to live together and here their baby is born. The baby seems to be quite an ordinary one, but some strange non-vanishing premonition lingers during the whole film. The tension of the situation is underlined with the help of the colours used − the scenery is grey and dull. The background music is troubling, as though aimed to tickle our nerves. All these factors make us think that something should happen soon.

Still, life goes on and it turns to be not as marvellous as it should have been. It’s hard for everybody to look after the baby, little Ricky. His parents begin to quarrel; it’s quite obvious that they both are tired.

Once it’s Paco’s turn to take care of Ricky. The man seems to be really puzzled, but he succeeds and performs his duties well. That is why Paco feels very disappointed and offended when Katie, having seen some strange bruises on Ricky’s back, accuses him of beating the baby. It’s a shock for Paco and he leaves Katie. We don’t see any tears of hers, but somehow we feel her pain. She shows an attitude of quiet resignation to her fate. She just continues to live.

One day when Katie returns home from work, she sees that Ricky’s cot is empty. The baby is … at the wardrobe! It’s a shock, it seems to be strange and impossible. But the truth is that Ricky has two little wings, like the birds do! Hard to imagine, but it is so. Is this a miracle or a burden? Katie still raises superior to circumstances, her decision is to be a loving mother for her baby, no matter winged or not.

The wings grow fast and Ricky doesn’t cease to make attempts to fly. His mother and sister help him in these endeavours. And the father doesn’t forget about Katie and children, he exchanges a few words with Lisa after her studies at school. He is not a callous monster who’s scared of hardship, but a loving father, who does care for Katie and their son. It’s his first step to return back.

One day Katie, Lisa and Ricky go to a mall to buy a present for Lisa and there a trouble happens… Ricky, having been left alone for some minutes, begins to fly over the lines of stands in the mall. As a result, he is being watched by the crowd of people, and everybody’s trying to shoot a video of him using their cell phones. That’s how Ricky becomes a miraculous celebrity. He’s a live toy for the people, a sensation for the press and the object of scientific research for the doctors. And he is just a son for Katie.

After this incident Paco finally returns back. But are they happy now? No, they’re not, because they are hunted by the journalists day and night. Paco sees the way out in demonstrating Ricky’s flying to the press, as it’s also a good method to get some money for Ricky’s proper support. So, Ricky, being tied to a rope held by his mother, flies in front of the journalists… Katie, overwhelmed with feelings, lets go of the rope… Ricky flies away and disappears high over the lake… Is he gone for good? Is there a danger for him not to survive? These are the questions that rise in Katie’s, Paco’s and Lisa’s heads. Katie suffers enormously, she often comes to the lake, looks up at the sky, hoping to see her son there.

One day she comes to the lake again. The poor woman is inconsolable… Her despair incites her to try to commit suicide. And here Ricky appears. He saves his mother’s life not only in a literal way, but also in a figurative one. But there’s still no place for him in the society… He flies away again.

Katie returns to her family and she feels real love for them. Soon after that she’s pregnant again. And now her life is full of hope.

So, was Ricky a winged miracle? You can judge it yourself…

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Director: François Ozon
“I like portraits of women and I wanted to explore the theme of maternity again... In RICKY, those two aspects (of the good mother and the monstrous mother) are present in the same mother, Katie, and we follow the complex evolution of her maternal impulses. At first she’s a lioness, seeking to protect her young, then she becomes a more playful, childlike mother, playing with her baby almost like a child plays with a doll. And finally, she is a mother confronted with the reality of a baby who needs care, a child she’s going to have to share, and eventually let go of”.