The bizarre French import "Ricky" starts out with a harried mother of two visiting a social worker. Katie (Alexandra Lamy) has been deserted by her husband, she can't make ends meet, and she's looking into giving her baby son up to foster care.

The bizarre French import "Ricky" starts out with a harried mother of two visiting a social worker. Katie (Alexandra Lamy) has been deserted by her husband, she can't make ends meet, and she's looking into giving her baby son up to foster care.

It's raw and heartbreaking. It immediately drew me in. "A few months earlier" popped up on screen, and I figured we'd retrace the steps that brought Katie to this breaking point.

And so when the end of the movie arrived and we'd never returned to that first moment, when the mother never even approached that level of despair again, I felt cheated.

Instead, what we get is a Gabriel Garcia Marquez-esque tale of magical realism, of a baby who sprouts wings. Director Francois Ozon (whose sexy "Swimming Pool" I quite enjoyed) largely devotes the rest of the running time to the practical and logistical difficulties of raising a winged creature, touching briefly on the media circus that arises when the baby's secret is inevitably spilled.

Afterward, I tried to think of some way to reconcile that gripping first scene with the rest of this movie. Maybe the bird-baby is a symbol for the mother letting her son go into foster care. Maybe the whole thing was a fantasy, created to help Katie cope with her dismal life.

Then I started having flashbacks to college literature classes. And I decided that - sorry, "Ricky" - I prefer my realism to be more realistic.