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Magali, 45, is a wine producer in the south of France. She's a widow, and her best friend, Isabelle, decides to find her a new husband. She puts an ad in the local newspaper and finds a nice man, Gérald. At Isabelle's daughter's wedding, Magali eventually meets Gérald. But there's another man around, Etienne... Written by
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And he knows how to write dialogue that is revealing, engaging and realistic, no small feat; and it is perhaps this talent more than anything else that has made Eric Rohmer the great director that he is. Here uses France's Cotes du Rhone wine country as a backdrop and symbol to help him explore not only autumn love, but the enduring friendship of two very different women. Isabelle (Maire Revière) is an elegant, tall, fair haired, blue-eyed haute bourgeoisie and her friend Magali (Beatrice Romand) is a short, earthy, dark-haired petite winemaker originally from Tunisia. Isabelle is happily married; Magali is divorced. They are both forty-something.
Isabelle's daughter is to be married. But the focus of the film is not on the bride and groom, but on the older generation, on Isabelle and Magali. In this way Rohmer combines the warm and enchantment of the celebration of autumn life, when the grapes are ripe for harvest, when love has its last chance, when Dionysus has his festival, when the heat of summer is over and we are ready to reflect and realize what is really important before it's too late.
Isabelle feels this strongly and wants her friend to find happiness before another winter comes. But Magali, because of the vineyard, doesn't have much of an opportunity to meet men, although she allows that she would like to. She is at that delicate age when one can try again or shrug it off. Isabelle intervenes by going to a dating service and placing an ad. She meets Gerald (Alain Libolt) and they have lunch (she insists on lunch) two or three times and she evaluates him. He is modest, somewhat suave and amazingly diplomatic. They share a certain attraction.
Meanwhile, Rosine (Alexia Portal) who is dating Magali's son and who is very close to Magali, perhaps more so that she is to her son, also wants to find a mate for Magali. She proposes her philosophy professor, Etienne (Didier Sandre), who is in fact sweet on her. He is the kind of man who, as Magali observes, likes them younger as he grows older. But maybe she will be the exception. Maybe he will finally grow up. Both arrange for their choices to meet Magali at the wedding.
As usual Rohmer explores humanity and how we relate to one another, and finds both love and a kind of sweetness that is liable to bring us to tears.
The resolution of the film is followed by a most endearing anticlimax in which there is a dance of joy.
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