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Ma femme est une actrice
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Reviews & Ratings for
My Wife Is an Actress More at IMDbPro »Ma femme est une actrice (original title)

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A Semi-Documentary? Heaven Forfend!

Author: Ralph Michael Stein ( from New York, N.Y.
21 July 2002

Director/writer/co-star Yvan Attal is actually married to co-star Charlotte Gainsbourg, an effervescent and shimmering bilingual (French/English) beauty. And they both can act.

This is a comedy with a dark but non-violent edge. Gainsbourg plays "Charlotte," a star of both French and English films who graciously dispenses autographs left and right and during dinner at restaurants. Attal plays "Yvan," a doting but increasingly disturbed sportscaster who wears down dealing with his wife's intrusive fans and, more critically, his mounting fears that she is having it off with her aging but still presumably babe-magnet co-star in a London studio filming, "John" (Terence Stamp)

Yvan apparently is underutilized at work because he has the time to brood deeply and split to London whenever his antagonistic feelings of longing for and suspicion of his spouse surface (which they do increasingly).

Stamp gives a delightful portrayal of an old actor whose wife doesn't understand him but he's straddling the pursuit of Charlotte with the subtle reality that he's getting a bit old for that sort of thing. Stamp brings a bemused actor's attempts at dalliance to life.

There's an extraneous sub-plot in which Yvan's sister, seriously Jewish, belabors her non-Jewish husband to agree to be circumcised as they await the birth of their first child. This irrelevant and uninteresting side story at least stretches the film out to a barely respectable 93 minutes, justifying the $10 admission.

There are amusing scenes, the best being when Charlotte negotiates with her frenetic director for terms on which to appear naked in a scene. The resolution is both predictable and hilarious.

While few of us have mates or lovers who are in the public eye as Charlotte is, Yvan's increasing jealousy will strike a familiar chord with many viewers. In real life happy endings to episodes of mounting distrust, approaching paranoia, are few.

A good, enjoyable film. But now I'm wondering about the real life marriage of Yvan and Charlotte.


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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Watchable. But likeable?

Author: dgave from Oklahoma
4 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

CAUTION: SPOILERS! It ain't paranoia if it's really happening.

In "My Wife Is an Actress" beleaguered French sportswriter Yvan (played by Yvan Attal, who also wrote and directed)is overcome by jealous worries that his beautiful movie star/wife Charlotte (played by Attal's real-life wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg) might be unfaithful. Yvan fears that Charlotte, who's left their Paris home to film a movie in London, might succumb to the advances of her sexy and disreputable leading man. Yvan's fears, stoked by, among other things, a conversation with a cloddish acquaintance, drive the action in this romantic comedy, which isn't always that comedic.

(SPOILER) Several reviewers have labeled Yvan's worries as paranoid. But it ain't paranoia if it's really happening. Turns out Yvan was right to worry. Charlotte falls rather readily for her co-star (Terence Stamp), whose moves are subtle and low-pressure. She has an excuse--Yvan planted the thought in her head with his ranting on the subject and his frequent unannounced trips to London to check up on her. Of course she's obligated to follow her little crush through all the way and sleep with the guy, all the while reassuring her husband that she is not.

Bear in mind that her fling is with a pasty, paunchy hack twice her age, as played delightfully by Stamp. You've got to figure a Russell Crowe-like young stud would have her on her back in about 10 seconds.

Following her assignation, Charlotte suffers apparent pangs of guilt and boards the Chunnel train for Paris and Yvan. After some innocent misunderstanding they get back together and she continues to tell Yvan that she has not slept with her co-star. Yvan knows she's lying: "You know something? You're a great actress," he says.

This movie is watchable and enjoyable, thanks to the attractiveness of its stars and Stamp's old-pro performance. But it is not particularly likeable, as romantic comedies are supposed to be. Ultimately it is a story about a marriage that is doomed to failure: he's obsessively jealous and she's unfaithful and a liar. Not a good combination. Worse, (SPOILER) the vehicle Charlotte and Yvan choose to cement their relationship--having a baby--is almost guaranteed to hurt, not help, a shaky marriage.

Charlotte is the film's most interesting character. She is not particularly likeable and is made palatable only by the immense appeal of the actress, Ms. Gainsbourg. In this the film is similar to another French movie about adultery, "Un Pointe Entre Deux Rives," or "The Bridge," in which the grace and beauty of the Audrey Hepburn-like Carole Bouquet make a rather unlikeable character somewhat more sympathetic than she should be.

Much has been made of the fact that the characters' names are the same as Attal's and Gainsbourg's real-lfe names. Is "My Wife Is an Actress" autobiographical? I hope not, for both their sakes.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Film lacks strength

Author: rosscinema ( from Oceanside, Ca.
23 March 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a film that could have had something insightful to say about celebrity marriages or it could have attempted to be a scathing dark comedy but unfortunately it does neither. Story is about a French sports writer named Yvan (Yvan Attal) who is married to a famous actress named Charlotte (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and when she travels to London to work on a film he starts to think whether he should trust her or not. One event puts him over the edge and it's when an obnoxious man starts asking him personal questions about the fact that the sex is real between actors. Yvan punches the guy out but he realizes that his wife's leading man is notorious for sleeping with his co-stars.


He travels to London and surprises Charlotte and he meets her leading man John (Terence Stamp) and instantly Yvan doesn't like him. Then later to his surprise he is told by his wife that she has a crush on him but is not sure how seriously.

This film is directed by it's lead actor Yvan Attal and he and Gainsbourg are married in real life. Attal wrote the script as well and you would think that he would show more insight to the dilemma's of being married to an attractive actress but he doesn't and instead the film plays like a very light comedy. When Charlotte admits her attraction to her co-star this should have led to a more complex angle to the story but it ends up resolving itself in a very predictable manner. The actors are good and you can't help but wish more could have been done with Stamp's role. He's too good of an actor to be in something so throwaway. Ludivine Sagnier pops up as an acting student and she does offer Attal something to think about in a small role. This is a film that could have benefited greatly if the script had a harder edge to it and the actors are all talented enough to pull it off but instead we get a lukewarm comedy. There are some good moments but your definitely left thinking more could have been done.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A mirror of early marriage and acting mythology

Author: ( from Maryland, USA
11 January 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The readers' reactions to this film were not what I expected-- most seem to be*spoilers*, but I think they, for the most part, have missed the point. This is a multi-lingual farce that shows the director/writer Yvan Attal to have wit and wonder. Those who do not like it are taking it too much at face value and have not tuned in to the very underhanded sense of humor that propels the rhythm of this comedy. Every romance between two talented people is bound to experience this kind of mutual jealousy and mistrust, as part of the growth in a relationship. If they don't, they are kidding themselves. In order to make the film, Attal obviously had to have the "consent" of all the adults in it, and he had to discuss the danger factors as he pried open his more naive characters, himself included. Some of the viewers saw him as a lout. I think Attal must have gone through a kind of "self-analysis" as he made the film, and for a director to present himself as a lout is, after all, rather rare. Loutishness is just one side of a personality that the love relationship brings out. All of these ups and downs are presented on a plate, as in a delicious "tasting meal" one can savor at a chef-driven restaurant. Not everyone will like all the little morsels, but all of them represent the chef's (Attal's) inner and outer struggle with himself (and his wife's) as part of the acting and film industry and being a "talent."

A couple of my favorite scenes: 1) his parody of the acting studio as he demonstrates a flower opening; 2) his seeing himself in multiple after he finds out that Charlotte is pregnant (in this age of cloning, how wittier can you get with this image!?);3) his demonstration of "l'amour fou" as he races back and forth on the train through the Chunnel to be with his beloved only to be squelched at the other end.

I also was not at all offended by the secondary plot of his sister and her baby. Many young couples constantly grouse at each other as part of their communicating style -- he and his sister as siblings demonstrate their familiarity by biting at each other like cubs. It may not be very pleasant for bystanders, but, in fact, it is very real human behavior, just not part of the iced-cake sibling relationships depicted by Hollywood.

I started to watch this film with no expectations, and came away totally delighted, having thought that romantic comedies could no longer be found in film.

Of five stars, I would give it **** four and look forward to more of his films. I wouldn't worry about their marriage!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Nice French Film

Author: Whitney from United States
13 April 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Charlotte is a film star, and Yvan is a sports journalist. When Charlotte goes to London to make a film with a famous English actor who is just as famous for seducing his leading ladies, Yvan becomes jealous and follows his wife to London, putting their marriage at risk.

The film is most interesting for its look at the difficulty of relationships when other people get involved. Yvan becomes truly jealous only after others encourage him to have doubts. His jealousy becomes an obsession and leads Charlotte to look at her co-star, who seems very supporting and caring, with new eyes.

This 2001 French film is a nice directorial debut from actor Attal, who claims that all his films have an autobiographical aspect. In fact, Attal is married to his co-star, Charlotte Gainsbourg.

SPOILER COMMENT: Many on this site have commented about the lie Charlotte tells at the end of the film. I have to comment that this lie stems from a European mentality that does not translate very well into American. A French friend of mine once told me that if her husband had an affair but realized that it was a mistake, she would not want to know about it. As she said, she would not want her life ruined over a mistake. He would feel guilty enough. Of course, not everyone in Europe feels this way, but many do, and I believe that this scene stems from such a mentality.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

funny movie

Author: heresmycomment from United States
25 January 2004

I love this movie. it doesn't have special effects or anything. it is just a basic story about a husband and wife. The acting is superb!!! The jokes are actually funny. The only thing I didnot like was the DP's work. Some of the shots could have been better angle.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

interesting, but something lost in the translation

Author: david77m from hackensack, new jersey, usa
15 September 2002

This film begins with an interesting idea, and moves along well for a time, but for me it failed to maintain its pace and hold my interest fully. Perhaps something was lost in the translation. One minute Charlotte is saying that things have been bad for them, Yvan and herself, and the next she's overjoyed that she's pregnant. I'm not really clear on her relationship with either of the male characters. It did have some funny moments, but overall, I was somewhat disappointed.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

France's sweethearts

Author: from Montfermeil, FRANCE
17 November 2001

It's not the first time that cinema wants to make us share the intimacy of its stars, F.Truffaut in "La Nuit Américaine", had already given us a magic , almost documentary-like sometimes, film about life on the shooting of a movie, and the problems of stardom in private life. Closer to us "Notthing Hill" and "America's Sweethearts" (both with the Bubly Julia Roberts) had shown an almost fairy tale-like vision of romance between stars and "anonymous", very disapointing and quite uninteresting by the way! But this french romantic comedy is a miracle! It avoids all the obstacles on which the 2 previous movies had crashed, in breef, its strengh , sucess and personality come from its "frenchness", and also, but it's so obvious that I quite forgot to say it(!),from the couple in life starring the couple in the film (!!) : Charlotte Gainsbourg & Yvan (and not Yvonne as calls him Terence Stamp!!!!) Attal. Attal films his wife with intelligence, sensibility and simplicity, as if he wanted us to understand and to share his love for her, and, guess what......he suceeds!! We can't help loving her! We saw her growing, become a woman, an actress, with her style , at the same time like her mother (Jane Birkin) but also herself, more fragile, more beautiful, gracious and...rare. Attal as chosen her because she's his wife, but she is the only actress that could have brought to the movie such a fresh touch, and that could have provoked such an enthousiasm; for she is that actress everyone knows almost since ever. Yvan Attal plays Yvan , Charlotte's husband, a sports journalist that somehow lives in her shaddow, he had already chosen in his short movie on this theme to be a John Doe. This choice is catchy for like this he "embodies" the spectator, but it also gives him the opportunity to have a kind of naive vision of the seventh art world...but maybe he just doesn't consider himself has a real star and leaves the spotlight to his wife..... chivalrous, French and talented, what a catch Charlotte!!! To put in a nutshell the movie works perfectly, and its chemistry works so well, so easily, that "heaven, we're in heaven(!)" and Terence Stamp's guest star's appearing is just perfect, a slight touch of Britain...rejoycing!

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Near miss

Author: George Parker from Orange County, CA USA
16 December 2002

"My Wife is an Actress" is all about a man who becomes jealous of his wife's handsome costar when she's required to do boudoir scenes. A so-so romantic comedy with precious little romance, this flick fails to focus on the central question which asks: How do you know if your wife is cheating de facto, in heart or mind, while she performs in bed with another man for the cameras? Instead, the film ruminates about the jealous husband and the tentative wife with occasional excursions into a whole side matter about circumcision which contributes nothing while managing to conjure up a few delightfully clever scenes. With good art, excellent camera work, and solid performances, this half English, half French flick makes for a nominal subtitled watch best saved for broadcast. (B-)

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An Appealing But Underdeveloped Film

Author: Desertman84 from United States
30 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

My Wife is an Actress is a French romantic comedy film that features real life couple,Yvan Attal and Charlotte Gainsbourg. Terence Stamp co- stars among others. The story is about a journalist who becomes obsessively jealous when his actress wife gets a part in a movie with an attractive co-star. Attal also wrote and directed the film.

Yvan is a young sports writer who finds himself happily married to the beautiful Charlotte, a fantastically popular movie actress. All is going swimmingly for Yvan until a stranger plants the seeds of jealousy and doubt in his mind over his wife and her libertine profession. Meanwhile, Charlotte is in London, starring in a movie with a very seductive and sophisticated Terence Stamp. Soon misunderstandings pile upon misunderstanding until Yvan's marriage is on the verge of collapse.

This is an appealing dramatic romantic comedy as it explores the marital downside of fame. It's about the hazards of being married to someone whose profession and celebrity pose a constant threat to matrimonial harmony. The movie dispels the fantasy of a movie-star spouse exploring the reality with adequate humor but precious little insight. Surely this premise would be fascinating for the viewer but unfortunately,it turned out to be lightweight movie that could be categorized as a it's a pleasant enough diversion.Unfortunately, the movie avoids the deeper details that it seems underdeveloped and make it realistic enough to become a thought-provoking film.But Charlotte Gainsbourg's presence is a delight on screen.

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