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March 19, 2013

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Filed under: Comedy, Drama — Tags: , , — checkrenespho @ 9:45 am

Genres: Comedy , Drama
Actors: Agnès Jaoui , Jean-Pierre Bacri , Jamel Debbouze , Pascale Arbillot , Guillaume de Tonquedec , Frédéric Pierrot , Mimouna Hadji , Florence Loiret Caille , Anne Werner , Laurent Jarroir , Jean-Claude Baudracco , Luc Palun , Marc Betton , François Gédigier , Bernard Nissile
Director: Agnès Jaoui
Country: France
Year: 2008
IMDB Rating: 6.1/10 (1118 votes)

Agnes Jaoui plays a local political candidate Agathe Villanova, who returns to her childhood home in the south of France in order to help her sister Florence (Pascale Arbillot) sort through their recently deceased mother’s belongings. While she’s there, the son (Jamel Debbouze as Karim) of family maid (Mimouna Hadji) takes advantage of her presence and attempts to interview her as part of a documentary about successful women that he’s undertaken with his film school teacher, Michel (co-writer Jean-Pierre Bacri). However, Michel’s intentions aren’t quite what they seem, as he’s having an affair with Florence and hoping to persuade her to leave her husband. Meanwhile, Karim finds his own marriage threatened when his attractive hotel co-worker (Florence Loiret-Caille) declares an interest in him.

Film Review

The story is set in a small town in the Midi, in France. Throughout the film, as the characters appear, they are revealed through dialogs they carry on with each other. So, as the film goes on, we have the feeling that things are rather stuck in this place.Michel, nearly fifty, aspires to be a reporter-filmmaker that he didn't succeed to be so far. It is, actually, a clumsy, nonchalant guy, who doesn't do right what he intend to, and relieves his frustration smoking joints. He is divorced, has a teenage son with whom he spends a weekend once in a while, and is having a future less affair with Florence's sister, Agathe, who is married to Stéphane.Florence, nearly forty, Agathe's sister, is married to Stephane. They have two children. But she feels miserable with her housewife life, along with a husband who has no energy to solve the shaky family financial situation. She seems to bet on her relationship with Michel to get free from her situation. This way of see…

Agnes Jaoui's films 'Le Gout des autres' and 'Comme une image' are among my favourites of contemporary French cinema. They're smart, well-written, understated comedies that get right under the skin of middle class relationships and neuroses. As such, this, her latest, is an enormous disappointment. The humour is forced and the characters are under-drawn – what is a relatively short movie felt very long indeed. The subtlety of Jaoui's previous films was completely missing – it's as if she's aiming for a much broader audience. Fatally, almost all of the characters are completely unsympathetic – the one exception is an old North African woman played by Mimouna Hadji. I really couldn't care less about these people, their failing relationships or their political ambitions because they just didn't ring true. I suspect that this is a film that will find a limited audience outside France.

Having been a huge fan of Jaoui and Bacri's films for many years, I have to admit I approach each one with a vague sense of trepidation in case they mess things up. I wasn't overly enamoured with their last film, Comme Une Image, as I felt Bacri's standard hapless-and-frustrated-but-ultimately-lovable character had become plain nasty and cruel. This time, I think they got it spot on all round. What I love about their films is that you can watch them again and again, taking something new from them with each viewing. Focusing on the minutiae of life whilst using delicate brush strokes to highlight the intricacies of human relationships via gentle but hilarious comedy is what they do best, and I found this film frequently hilarious. The actors are all superb, and the various characters give such a seemingly mundane story a depth not many films achieve, as French political life and its future are examined with a delicate touch by Jaoui, who credits her audience with much intel…

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