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The life story of the titular Beaumarchais (Fabrice Luchini), playwright and adventurer, who gets himself into numerous different scrapes and romantic encounters in 18th Century France. Written by
Jonathan Broxton <email@example.com>
This is a must-see film. It is a sumptuous period piece on any terms, with consistently splendid visuals of both interiors and exteriors.
But forget all that. It is everything a movie should be: inspiring, clever, funny, real .... what else do you want?
Beaumarchais is the watchmaker's son turned playwright who is most familiar to Western culture as the creator of Figaro, the central character is the famous Mozart and Rossini operas.
That he was, but he was also at times a court conspirator, a champion of liberty, a defender of the weak, a lazy sybarite, a pretend aristocrat, a humorist, a shallow womanizer, and a revolutionary. That a movie and a performer can capture all the facets of such a complex man is a wonderful achievement.
The actor, Fabrice Luchini, creates something memorable ... a revolutionary who fights not with fiery speeches or rabble armies, but with a half-smile and by out-playing the corrupted at their own games. He is brave without bravado. His unobtrusive looks and his whispery lisp disguise a will of steel.
The movie takes a fair look at the man as man ... flawed in many ways ... average in many other ways .... failing as often as he succeeds ... yet ultimately one of the architects of the spirit that empowered the new world to overturn the old aristocracies and asserts the rights of man.
Entwined as his spirit may be with the spirit of France, and his presence with the details of its revolution, you don't need to know one word of French or one fact of French history to love the movie. It's charming as hell on several levels, and it's just plain good.
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