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|Index||38 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You've got to hand it to Leconte; he sure knows how to provoke discussion. I haven't read all the previous comments but enough to be aware of the spectrum they cover and that the majority are highly favorable. So far I've yet to encounter a Religious reading though this is at one level fairly obvious: Our protagonist, Antoine, is seen first as a twelve year old, he emerges again as a mature man (not, perhaps, the 30 that Christ was when we next meet him in the bible, Jean Rochefort was in fact 60 at the time) with no visible means of support yet reasonably well-dressed and well nourished. We have no idea and nor are we ever told whether he got his bac, went to university (or even gaol), became a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief. Nothing. But he does, arguably, perform a miracle by bringing true love into the life of another. I'm also slightly surprised that the feminists haven't jumped on this bandwagon and seen valuable ammunition in this story of a man who defines himself only in relation to a woman. In both French (Le mari de la coiffeuse, literally the husband of the hairdresser) and English (The Hairdresser's Husband) Antoine exists only as an appendage to a member of the opposite sex in much the same way as for years women were defined only by THEIR husbands, the doctor's wife, the bus driver's wife, or even just Eric's wife. Antoine makes the choice to define himself in relation to a woman - at that stage unspecified as an individual - when, at the age of 12 he states unequivocally his desire to become not a train driver or a biologist but a hairdresser's husband; a singular ambition whichever way you look at it. And so it comes to pass; one day, years later, he walks into a hairdressing salon owned and run by a very attractive young woman (Anna Galiena was 36 at the time, 24 years Rochefort's junior)and proposes marriage within minutes. Now this is where, in the cold light of day we stop and ask some very pertinent questions. I've already dealt with half of them - where has Rochefort been since he was 12 - but now we must consider why an attractive and sensual young woman who, as an extra incentive, owns her own business, has no man in her life, none on the horizon and, seemingly, none in her past - though later she does tell Rochefort that she has known other men but none like him. In the interests of sustaining the fantasy on which this movie is predicated the young, attractive business woman, having initially ignored the proposal, accepts, in a cold, matter-of-fact manner, on their very next meeting, a couple of weeks later and then, against all the odds, to say nothing of the age difference and Rochefort coming across as eccentric rather than the answer to a maiden's prayer, they fall madly in love and enjoy an idyllic, insular relationship, rarely straying far from the salon and punctuated by Antoine's unique dancing to Arabic music. I've dwelt on what we might term 'realistic' aspects in order to illustrate the kind of obstacle the movie must overcome in realist/cynical viewers before it can begin to exert its peculiar charm and I can only say that it is totally successful because even as these caveats enter your mind they are destroyed effortlessly by the strength and conviction of the two central performances and the strong support - including that of Michelle Laroque who somehow succeeds in suppressing her natural glamor and sensuality in what amounts to a cameo. Nothing can last forever, as Noel Coward said so memorably in one of his minor songs and Mathilde's interest in the gradual ageing of regular customers verges on the obsessive until, in one of the most romantic gestures in the history of film she takes her own life rather than face what she sees as the inevitable decline of passion and romantic love. Leconte shot this movie right after Monsieur Hire and followed it three years later (after some TV work and a short film) with 'Tango' another quirky story in which Rochefort (by then 63) had a small role as a bellboy and I have no hesitation in adding my voice to the 'yeas' and scoring this one 9/10
I am a little at a loss of words to describe this small gem of a movie. It
is very sensual, it is deeply moving, and it is very funny. As a small boy
Antoine is asked by his father what he would like to be one day. He answers
that he wants to marry a hairdresser ... and he does some fifty years later
when he weds Mathilde. Their relationship is an ideal one: warm,
affectionate, deeply loving. It brings out the very best in both of them.
But Mathilde knows (fears?) that what goes up must come down...
The acting is superb. Very little is actually said but both Jean Rochefort and the Italian actress Anna Galiena speak with their bodies and above all with their faces, and their language surpasses that of words: their superb acting makes it appear easy for an audience to share their emotions and be elevated to similar heights and depths of feelings. If only all films would manipulate our emotions in such a subtle and gratifying way. First rate!
The odeurs, the warm light, the caresses, the soft looks (and the music of
course) makes you feel like discovering an unknown chapter of the Arabian
Nights, even though we never leave the South of France.
Like in all fairy-tales time doesn't really mean much in this story ... untill it is too late and the world steps in, heart-stopping, mind-boggling; than the Hairdressers husband turns the cave of Ali Baba into his own pyramid, pushing us, the viewers, out. Tremendous Film !!
This is quite the different "little" foreign film and I mean that in a
good way. I hold foreign films in a different light from movies of
North American mainstream cinema. While the foreign movies I've had the
opportunity to view have been pretty consistent, I must admit -- I'm
more picky and subjective when it comes to a foreign film. Why? I guess
because they aren't in my language, they usually have very little star
line and they are an calculated risk. Most turn out well, but I don't
pretend they all are pure silk. I've seen a few I regret. Perhaps the
view that foreign movies are generally of good quality comes from the
fact that the general public is only exposed to foreign films of good
quality. The comparison to "our" movies help too. Most people don't
watch foreign cinema unless it's of the few hyped releases that have
made the jump to American audiences. Unfortunately that's a pretty
select group year after year.
The Hairdresser's Husband is not such a foreign film. It didn't make the language barrier jump which is unfortunate. It's well worth the watch for anyone not completed saturated by American movies and customs. The film is equal parts drama and comedy. It follows Antoine (Jean Rochefort) who as a little boy becomes infatuated with the local hairdresser almost like a secret boyhood crush. From that day on the love of a female hairdresser becomes part of his character. He grows up intent he will marry a hairdresser and hence the title -- "The Hairdresser's Husband". He's the kind of person you know will make no harm in the world. Even in adulthood in many respects he is still a child. His personality is such that you'd look at him and know what kind of person he is. He's searching for happiness.
He walks into a local hairdresser's shop and becomes mesmerized by Mathilde (Anna Galiena) the shop's hairdresser. She is beautiful and has a natural free flowing charm. Next thing he's getting his hair cut and inadvertently blurts out "Will you marry me?". General awkwardness follows. The next day, he comes back. Obviously not needing a cut. She tells him she heard what he said and the next thing they are together and they couldn't be more happier. Life suddenly has more depth and meaning. Like it's been in wait for this moment in time. They live in each others warmth.
"The Hairdresser's Husband" is a kind hearted film that isn't so much a story, but a character study carried out by talented performances and real emotions. Asking nothing of us but acceptance as it plays out. Although it is relatively brief, the short running time actually suits the material too. In an American movie, Antoine would have lost her somewhere in act two and had to battle to get her back from a person not deserving of her before having happiness again. They might have thrown in a subplot centering around their best friends too. That's the way Hollywood movies are. Thankfully there are no contrived plot points or useless characters thrown about here. It's all a tight package. It's sad seeing things ending up back at step one as shown at the start, but that does nothing to impact this foreign film I recommend to anyone with a sense of empathy.
this is actually what this movie is about: what happens when all your dreams come true and what you exprience every day is so incredibly beautiful and fulfilling that you fear even think of losing what you have. funny and touching, poetic and sad - this movie has this 'something special' about it that makes it unforgettable. great acting, one-of-the-kind story and beautiful cinematography combined with really unique, fairytale-like mood make this movie a genuine 10 out of 10.
The French are the masters of melancholy. I don't think I've ever been more pleased by sadness than after watching this beautiful film. A little boy obsesses over his hairdresser as a child and then finally fulfills his fantasy nearly forty years later when he marries a stunningly gorgeous owner of a barber shop on a whim. The story is simple, and though it may leave some viewers wanting more in terms of character development, it will play well if you see it as a fable. The two are madly in love with each other and their whole life revolves around the barber shop and their customers. Quirky humor, insightful observances about everyday life and people's behavior, and superb photography (especially of the luminous actress playing the hairdresser) make this a highly enjoyable film to watch. This is a wonderful look at how lust can grow into love, and how love can turn tragic and then hopeful again. Bravo to director Leconte. C'est la vie!
Antoine's love for women is clear, something that began in his young
days. He must have his hair cut by the plump woman hairdresser whose
mere presence inspires awe and passion in the little boy. Getting close
to her breasts is just pure ecstasy for him. He is the best groomed boy
in his town thanks to the frequent visits he pays to have his hair cut.
When Antoine grows up, the old hairdresser has gone. In her place, the lovely Mathilde arrives. Antoine's first encounter with Mathilde is not exactly one that would endear himself to the young woman, who is lovely in a mysterious way that is music to him. Eventually, they marry and seem to live a good life until fate intervenes to separate them in a way Antoine didn't envisioned.
This lovely comedy directed with great charm by Patrice Leconte is a joy to watch. The director was lucky in engaging one of the best French film comedians, Jean Rochefort. As Antoine, he is the best thing in this tender story of love and loss. Anna Galiena who plays Mathilde is perfect. Both actors are amazing in the film.
"The Hairdresser's Husband" is an enjoyable love story that will please fans of Mr. Rochefort and Mr. Leconte.
I love this film probably because it seems to be the kind of movie that would never get made in the US. It not only seems to be foreign, it seems otherworldly. The musical interludes featuring the bizarre movements of Jean Rochefort are worth many repeat viewings. (I own a copy of this video.) The movie looks at obsession and the transitory nature of relationships in a bittersweet and magical way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
("Le mari de la coiffeuse")
The director (Patrice Leconte) has a gift for helping us see people from other perspectives (e.g., "The Man on the Train"). As in that movie, Jean Rochefort is one of the leading characters.
As there can be no one single meaning to a work of art, so any movie will evoke many. But I strongly disagree with the narrative described in most other reviews of this charming movie, thinking my own makes far more sense.
Antoine, a boy about 12 years old on the cusp of puberty, enjoys the sensuality of physical closeness to the woman barber who cuts his hair, his head often cradled against her ample bosom.
His father has aspirations for his children and, one evening at supper, he asks this son what he wants to be when he grows up. He mistakes Antoine's answer, groping toward his awakening sexuality (and wanting to marry a woman barber), for a lack of ambition. He disapproves of his son's announced goal and over-reacts, chastising him at the supper table, and sending him immediately to his room. (We see a hint that then both he and his wife wonder if he's been overly punishing.)
But instead of being hurt or angry, Antoine takes further solace in his fantasy, very much as Max did (in quite different ways) in the classic book, "Where the Wild Things Are." Whereas Max became king of the Wild Things; the rest of this movie is Antoine's dream of what his future would be if married to a woman barber/hairdresser.
As in a dream--as in a 12 year old boy's simplified view of what it means to be a married adult and what an adult world is like--many parts of reality are missing: e.g., it's as if he needs no job, as if love and marriage happen in almost an instant, as if his wife's life revolves only about him and his about her, as if all their adult life takes place in his wife's barber shop where he's constantly present, and as if his wife would, of course, prefer death to the risk of losing him.
The somewhat bizarre little recurring dance which he does underscores the non-reality, the dream-like quality in this major part of the movie.
This is an utterly charming movie of the world of a boy who is just coming into puberty, trying to make sense of this delightful experience of being close to a woman's body.
That's the meaning to me and this view is so very compelling I cannot believe the director intended any other.
Being a Patrice Leconte-directed film, you know this is going to be
nicely photographed with a lot of Sergio Leone-type facial closeups. I
always appreciate that, and especially here when it is the beautiful
face of Anna Galiena featured often. Some of the "portraits" of her in
here would make magnificent paintings.
The story isn't much but it kept my interest in an odd way. The film had some strange scenes and some strange viewpoints on life, although I noticed much of the same secular and superstitious liberalness in many films from France. Unfortunately, that secular viewpoint can lead to tragic endings as is the case in this story which finished in a shocking manner.
However, there is some nice humor in this drama, too, such as the funny dance scenes by Jean Rochefort.
One thing about French films: they don't need a lot of action to keep your interest. They are wonderful storytellers and I usually enjoy their films, despite their odd philosophies on life.
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