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Tatie Danielle (1990)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 17 May 1991 (USA)
Auntie Danielle, supposedly in ailing health but in reality just a nasty old bitch, lives with a paid housekeeper who she regularly abuses. When the housekeeper dies falling off a ladder, ... See full summary »



(scenario and dialogue), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tsilla Chelton ...
Isabelle Nanty ...
Neige Dolsky ...
Eric Prat ...
Laurence Février ...
Virginie Pradal ...
Mathieu Foulon ...
Gary Ledoux ...
Christine Pignet ...
Cab driver
Evelyne Didi ...
Isabelle Petit-Jacques ...
A passer-by
Agathe (as Karine Viard)


Auntie Danielle, supposedly in ailing health but in reality just a nasty old bitch, lives with a paid housekeeper who she regularly abuses. When the housekeeper dies falling off a ladder, Danielle moves in with her great-nephew and his family. She continues using her nastiness to manipulate everyone into doing things her way until the family goes on vacation to Greece. The young housekeeper they hire to watch after her knows what Auntie is doing, and deals with her accordingly, and they begin forming respect for each other. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Tatie Danielle is a spoiled old lady who has become expert, after long years of study, at the art of imposing on other people.


Comedy | Drama


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 May 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Auntie Danielle  »

Box Office


$604,624 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Referenced in Hélas pour moi (1993) See more »


Ca sent la messe
Written by Philippe Chatiliez
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User Reviews

the old laughing lady
11 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

Etienne Chatiliez can keep a cool head! After the commercial and critical success of "Life is a long quiet river" (1988), there must have been an immense pressure on him to make a second movie. Two years later, he resurfaced with a new feature-length film, "Tatie Danielle". At first sight, this film seems to be less original than its predecessor. It is nevertheless a fact that it is a funnier movie to watch and it shows once again Chatiliez's brilliant talent.

Etienne Chatiliez's strength comes from his skill at making laugh of a serious topic, always with a caustic and devastating humor. Furthermore, he always finds place to insert in it a little touch of social satire. These film-maker's particular gifts were already present in "life is a long quiet river". We find them again with pleasure in "Tatie Danielle" where the director is surpassing himself and is going further in daring. Roughly, he is having a tremendous time with the adventures of this old malicious lady who is going to make life impossible for her nephews. The movie is bursting with comical sequences and no-one makes sparks fly of powerful dialogs as well as Chatiliez does. Through the Billard family's trouble then Sandrine with "Tatie Danielle", a progressive tension grows which reaches its climax in the sequence when Tatie Danielle, hopeless after Sandrine's departure ransacks her nephews' flat and accuses them!

Like in "Life is a long quiet river", the contrast constitutes one of the author's main weapons. On one hand, Tatie Danielle, an old lady full of nastiness and on another hand, her nephews with an excessive kindness. It is useful to point out that the director makes a somewhat mocking description of his characters. For example, Tatie Danielle may be unbearable, she is also a very lonely old woman. She can only confide in her late husband. The latter is depicted in a photography and he is squinting! Through this characteristic, Chatiliez cocks a snook at her main character. On another hand, in the Billard family, the father and the children have got pretty much the same first name: Jean. A discreet way to laugh at this average French family

But Etienne Chatiliez has more than one string to his bow. Indeed, he also understood that sometimes it is better to use the power of suggestion to make particular moments successful. Thus, we learn that Tatie Danielle stirs up ill-feeling in the old people's home through the nurses and the head doctor's words.

And especially, especially, Chatiliez has got a sharp sense of observation. His movie abounds of little black ideas or details that irresistibly kick the bull's eye.

"Tatie Danielle" also proves one thing. Sometimes it is no-use hiring famous actors to secure the success of a movie. At the time of its release in 1990, nearly all the actors were virtually unknown. But Tsilla Chelton gives a flawless performance and it is a delight to see Isabelle Nanty subduing the tough octogenarian.

If we make an exception of some little weaknesses (Florence Quentin, the scriptwriter has forgotten to delete a few clichés linked to old people and there are some predictable sudden new developments), you come out elated of the projection of Etienne Chatiliez's intelligent and malicious second movie. He passes us on the pleasure he took in shooting this story. A really funny movie and there's no reason to deny oneself of it.

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