Newest Review: ... seeing more than a gentle commentary on French society, I can't say this film is the best thing I've ever seen but it's worth the watch an... more
Deneuve and Depardieu together again - it could only be French!
Member Name: azana
Date: 09/01/12, updated on 10/01/12 (84 review reads)
Advantages: an entertaining way to pass some time
Disadvantages: sometimes doesn't feel like it goes as far as it could
The star of this film is undoubtedly Deneuve, now well and truly a grande dame of French cinema, though looking far younger than her 66 years on screen it has to be said. In this film with some nifty costumes and a willingness to not take herself too seriously - as is evident in the extras on the out takes where Deneuve seems very natural and self-deprecating, as well as in the opening scene where she is seen jogging and communing with Nature in a comic reference to Snow White. There are a few laugh out loud moments in the film, her co-star Luchini providing a few with his interactions with his secretary, managing to seem strangely likeable and lascivious at the same time, but this isn't strictly a comedy as such and it's actually a hard film to pigeon hole.
Depardieu appears as the Communist Mayor, Maurice Babin who has history with a younger Suzanne and at first seems set to be the love interest in this film. Luckily, though a few stereotypical Frenchisms do pepper this film his story is not set to turn out as we might predict, though to understand his involvement in the film does mean you have to know a little about French social history - in particular their wont to strike and the influence that Mayors actually wield in provincial France. The film follows Suzanne as she starts to become more than the unimportant and unintelligent doormat she has been written off as at the start of the film and to be taken more seriously in every way.
Depardieu has good chemistry with Deneuve (they've starred together in films as far back as the eighties), though if you have seen him before you can't help but be a little distracted by thinking that, actually, he has aged far, far less well than Deneuve, there seems to be increasingly more of him, and he makes obvious the passage of time that, should you not know otherwise you might think had stopped in the 70's. Good use of filters, lighting and great costumes and period touches (my favourite was the furry telephone) mean that you might feel that this film was filmed a few decades ago were you not as I was a little distracted by the voluminous Gérard.
The director, Francois Ozon (The Swimming Pool, Eight Women), has done a fine job convincing the viewer that they are back in the seventies, though IMDB does point to a few bloopers - I did notice that the car headlights were the wrong colour, in the main the film works well and has a feel of "Abigail's Party" about it. The sound track and a few interesting song and dance scenes (Depardieu amazingly managing to pull off dancing a la Pulp Fiction fairly successfully), works well and adds to the period feel of the film, as does the constant haze of cigarette smoke and the strains of the Bee Gees.
There was, too, a good cast of supporting characters, from the son, Laurent, the Joëlle the daughter who sports the most amazing Farah Fawcett hairdo. I particularly enjoyed Nadège Dumoulin's interpretation of the Pujol's secretary Nadine who starts out as the wife wronger and turns into her biggest fan and Laurent is gloriously camp whilst being strangely attractive in his seventies outfits.
The translator has done a competent job in translating the film as far as the subtitles go in my opinion, there were only a few moments where I felt that the essence of what was being said was not captured, ignoring the impossible exercise in translation that is the title, though for any French speaking viewer, it is a little annoying to say the least that the subtitles can't actually be switched off as I would have liked to enjoy the film without being distracted by them.
As a way of passing 99 minutes and being entertained, especially if you like all things French this 2010 film works well, though it never quite develops to be the rallying call to women that you think it might do (though the ending is fairly satisfying), with a casual acceptance of adultery and a "if you can't beat em join em" attitude that could only be French, as long as you don't take it all too seriously or expect to be laughing in the aisles, or seeing more than a gentle commentary on French society, I can't say this film is the best thing I've ever seen but it's worth the watch and I enjoyed it.
DVD released in UK in June 2011, and was watched by me as part of the Amazon Vine programme - currently available for £9.43.
consist of a trailer, out takes (fairly amusing to watch) and, strangely, of the costume tryouts. There is no director's commentary or other notable features on the British release of the DVD
This is a 15 film and seems to be in the correct category given the adult nature of some of the scenes
Summary: deneuve sparkles, depardieu looks slightly older and er fatter