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Celestine, the chamber-maid, has a new job in the country, at the Lanlaires. She has decided to use her beauty to seduce a wealthy man, but Mr. Lanlaire is not a right choice: the house is firmly controlled by Madame Lanlaire, helped by the strange valet Joseph. Then she tries the neighbour, former officer Mauger. This seems to work. But soon the son of the Lanlaires comes back. He is young, attractive and does not share his mother's antirepublican opinions. So Celestine's beauty attracts Captain Mauger, young Georges Lanlaire, and Joseph. Three men, from three different social classes, with three different conceptions of life. Will Celestine be able to convince Georges of her sincerity? Will sinister and inflexible Joseph let his views on Celestine be ruined? A quite disillusioned depiction of humanity. Written by
I cannot pretend to explain all the allusions and metaphors Renoir intended to convey with this impressionistic comedy. Paulette Goddard, as the main character, is magnificent. She conveys her feelings and thoughts through her diary, but in a manner that is always blurry and full of confusion. And speaking of confusion, Hurd Hatfield is on hand as the scion of the odd home. Burgess Meredith, Francis Lederer, and Irene Ryan all add terrific seriocomic support in their roles.
Be prepared to experience many conflicting feelings while viewing this film.
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