|Index||6 reviews in total|
For all of us American Deneuve fans, this little gem is a little tough
to get ahold of. Fortunately, I found myself so wrapped up in the short
bits that I saw previewed on youtube.com that I was willing to go to
any lengths. I found it on ebay.com, ordered it directly from France,
and changed my laptop so it would play Region 2 DVDs. Let me tell you
that it was well worth it. Be warned - there are NO subtitles
(unforunately, Pathe shouldn't have released this on DVD, Koch Lorber
should've - they're good about the subtitles). I don't speak a word of
French. I can utter a syllable here and there, order a drink and
whatnot. That having been said, this film was a treat anyway. I
couldn't fully appreciate the supposed "bawdy" humor or the witty
dialogue. Watching Deneuve and her cohorts was enough for me. I
understood what was going on without need of the dialogue. It really
says something about a film when those who can't speak the language
The cinematography is wonderful. London is adorable as the smitten son-on-law. Loved the lesbian Mom. And, of course, what can I possibly say about our dear Mademoiselle Deneuve. She is one of a kind. Those eyes, that smile. I could watch her films all day. She really goes beyond beauty. People always say she's gorgeous. Well, yes, she is. But she is also VERY talented. I believed her every second of the way. Her conversation about chocolate and vanilla with London is too sweet. Her character even gets arrested for smoking dope with some 15 year old in the street. NOT TO BE MISSED! Fly to France and buy this if you have to. Great. 10
Starting with a "My Name is Joe" like scene in Alcoholics Anonymous tBM
careers into a mad spiral of infidelity, double standards and clandestine
affairs. but what do you expect from a family of lawyers?
A genuinely funny film, with some of the most outrageous characters since The Birdcage, plot and subplot are intertwined with surreal scenes of decadent Parisian life (ever been to a wedding reception in the gents toilet where the brides grandmother and her deranged girlfriend are smoking dope and cracking blue jokes? No, me either!) leading to a final scene of almost Arcadian symbolism.
I always loved French movies because I think they are filled with much
emotion and sense than the Americans. This film is a gem.
Starting with the wedding which is so funny that you just want to join them and in the end where the little family kids tell us who is with who which is extremly funny. Catherine Deneuve is simply hot and so good that it is absolutely possible that a young man can fall in love with her, and Vincen Lindon is perfect for that role. The best scene (except the wedding party) is in the family reunion where Antoine has got mad and yells his feelings to Lea in front of the family. It is such a shame that I could buy this film only from the French and not from the English (so I have to learn in French to enjoy watching it)!!
Or at least you feel pretty high after this movie. It's the kind of
film that the word "rollicking" really can be applied to, though it's
rollicking in that entirely casual, intelligent, and open-minded way
that belongs to the French.
No, Catherine Deneuve does not spend the entire movie high (sorry to disappoint any puritans with an agenda).. but the one scene to which I refer involves all the members of a wedding party - AND it's a musical number! Anyway, everything fits pretty seamlessly together, and the unusual, bright, colorful family ( Deneuve's mother is a lesbian, Deneuve her bon vivant daughter) alternately entertain and annoy us as real families do..but since it's a movie they mostly entertain.
Don't want to say too much about the ending, but Deneuve ends up marrying a man about twenty years younger. This is entirely believable as we see the relationship develop over time, and as the two are naturally drawn closer and closer together. The ending is a happy one; and like the rest of the movie, satisfyingly quirky as well as pitch-perfect.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is yet another gem from the pen of Daniele Thompson - in fact that same year (1999) she wrote and directed La Buche, the first of three writer/director credits so far. Belle Maman is first of all 'French' whatever that means which is, of course, different things to different folks. The premise is simple: At the altar where he is marrying Mathilde Seigner, the groom, Vincent Lindon, gets his first glimpse of her mother, Catherine Deneuve, and suffers what the French call a coup de foudre which we know as love at first sight. In theory the story is either 1) over right then and there assuming he called the wedding off or else 2)just the beginning as he goes through with the wedding and thus lives a lie until it is resolved one way or the other. Thompson veers towards #2 but not without hitting us with the odd subplot along the way like, for example, Deneuve's cigar-smoking lesbian mother Line Renaud (in real life, if anyone cares, Renaud is in a long-term relationship with Stephane Audran, who co-stars here) and throws in a brilliant set-piece in a luxuriously appointed Men's Room at the wedding reception, which takes the form of a hilarious song-and-dance. Consummate writer that she is Thompson also leavens the comedy with drama like the brilliant climactic scene where Vincent finally spews out his feelings for Deneuve at a family gathering whilst simultaneously wrecking the joint. This is one to savour. Again and again.
What a terrible movie! It represents perfectly the state of degenerateness of French society, where the most elementary respect for wholesome values and traditions has completely disappeared. The plot is nonsensical, the movie is not funny at all and the characters are completely shallow and uninteresting. To say the least, the direction and the cinematography are very poor and uninspired. Catherine Deneuve is as bad an actress as she always was, even when she was directed by Bunuel in Belle De Jour. The rest of the usually good cast (Vincent Lindon, Line Renaud, Jean Yanne) seem completely lost in an ocean of vulgarity, platitudes and restlessness. I cannot help to draw a parallel with the wonderful James Ivory's "Le Divorce", with its thoughtful depiction of French and American mores, its superlative cinematography and stellar cast put to good use. Having watched "Le Divorce" you can feel a kind of empathy with the French, regardless of their foibles. "Belle-Maman" leaves you with only a nauseated contempt for its morally bankrupt and clueless protagonists.
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