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|Index||14 reviews in total|
I watched this film on an international flight from Frankfurt to
Charlotte. Despite the fact that it was in French with English
subtitles, I chose it from among the other tacky Hollywood choices of
film and sitcoms that were available on the in-flight entertainment
I have to disagree with the prior reviewer who said, "The plot is simple but interesting, based on two facts: - the difficulty for French farmers to find spouses willing to settle in a farm; - the difficulty for young Romanians to get a decent job in their own country".
These situations only provided the context for the film. The true basis for this film is a beautiful and entertaining story of loving after loss, and the strength of human character...peppered with a clever and humorous examination of the differences in the way men and women think (which seems to be universal regardless of culture).
As I returned home from 2 wonderful weeks in Europe, the French dialogue and beautiful scenery took me on a mental journey that allowed me to forget for a couple of hours more - the shallowness and wastefulness of American culture.
This film is not just worth watching...if you care at all about diversity and you enjoy celebrating the full spectrum of human emotions, it's worth adding to your collection.
This film will probably not be remembered in 10 years but it does not
matter as it's not meant to be a 7th art masterpiece. The plot is
simple but interesting, based on two facts: - the difficulty for French
farmers to find spouses willing to settle in a farm; - the difficulty
for young Romanians to get a decent job in their own country;
A market-oriented solution would be to bring together the offer and the demand. And it's exactly what the dating company is doing. The problem is that human beings, unlike goods, have feelings: - it's hard for a French farmer to understand a girl from Romania; - it's hard for a Romanian girl to leave her country and her past behind.
It's a nice reminder to those criticizing immigrants that it's always a last-resort and heart-breaking solution to move away from home in search for better conditions.
Two great actors: Michel Blanc and Medeea Constantinescu.
Last but not least, life in Romania is far from being as dull as the film pretends.
Loved the movie! I chose to see this French movie, though I knew
nothing about it and wished for a light romantic comedy. I received
much more. Not a "funny" comedy but a "chamber" movie with two chamber
players, gentle, touching and heart-warming. I loved every character's
portrayal, including Ciufu the dog. Coming out of the cinema, I saw
smiling faces and overheard men commenting, in surprise, that they did
enjoy the movie. The matching of an older -not exactly handsome- man
with a younger, vivacious woman, reminded me of two other movies (that
1. "Alexandre Le bienheureux",1967,(Philippe Noiret v.Marlene Jobert)- (Hilarious!)
2. "As good as it gets" (Jack Nicholson v. Helen Hunt)- (saw it twice and still find the chemistry unconvincing).
I shall definitely add this movie to my DVD collection.
Isabelle Mergault's You Are So Handsome/Je vous trouve très beau is a
conventional mainstream French film with a slightly new theme: what
happens when an Eastern European mail-order bride is brought in on the
QT to help out with chores on a French provincial farm. Shortly after
the film begins, French farmer Aymé (super-popular actor Michel Blanc)
loses his wife in an off-screen accident. Little love was lost between
the gruff pair, and once his wife's gone, Aymé's main concern is who,
now, is going to do the laundry, cook, and tend to the chickens and
cows on his farm. He can't do all that himself. So he's barely out of
his funeral suit when we see him accompanying a professional
matchmaking lady on a plane to Bucharest to interview prospective
brides. It's obvious there are lots of girls over there desperate to
get out, some with the rudiments of French. One of the interviewees,
Elena (Medeea Marinescu), has the sense to dress down and say she likes
animals. "You Look so handsome" is what they all tell the farm widower
even Elena. When they say it, Michel Blanc's rubber-faced deadpan
goes all pouty.
He winds up picking Elena sort of. He doesn't marry her. He arranges for her to arrive back home after him, pretends she's a distant relative come for an internship on the farm, and doesn't even admit to his family that he's been to Rumania. He produces faked photos and canned sauerkraut to convince them he was in Germany for a farm equipment trade fair. He also forces Elena to pretend to everybody else that she speaks no French.
Nonetheless Elena is soon living with Aymé though "on approval" and helping with chores. She wants to be affectionate, but he's as brusque as ever and will have none of it. The pout stays put, despite the charms of Elena, who could pass as a young Meryl Streep and captivates all the local boys at public functions. Aymé is not above getting jealous when that happens. He's possessive, but not giving.
Je vous trouve très beau isn't challenging or subtle, but it does up the rich nation/poor nation dilemma. It's also a change from the general run of French films focused on sophisticated bourgeois Parisians (or their outcast banlieu neighbors). Veteran actress and experienced screenwriter Isabelle Mergault's first directorial effort is an entertainment, not a specific regional portrait or a searching piece of social realism designed to arouse our geopolitical awareness. It's a sentimental tale that milks its laughs and tears in an easy, simplistic way even if it's also marked by an emotional trajectory that leaves one feeling rather muddled.
The rest of the cast is replete with (generally believable) stereotypes: the noisy relatives (who're quite appealing, but hardly seen in depth); the young country boys who gather around the pert, mini-skirted Elena; a big mute boy, her best friend in the daytime, who moons around her and helps with the chores; an old crone who has one repeated joke refrain, "Who's dead?" The cliché we've got to believe in is that Aymé's gruffness eventually melts but a little late. By the time he's realized that he cares for Elena as a person and not just a housekeeper, and gives his one big speech about her coming on to him made him feel old and undesirable and turn on the one thing he most wanted, Elena's just about unhappy enough to walk back to Bucharest, and he provides a way.
This is the old story of the hard-hearted loner (Aymé and his dead wife have obviously lived as if they were alone for years) whose façade eventually cracks and lets the human being timidly peek out. But the process is so protracted we don't get a clearcut resolution. Most of the relationship scenes are little images of hurt and apology, reaching out and drawing back. First-timer Mergault hasn't achieved a sure rhythm, her drama veers too much toward tele-drama, and her film's too timid about its payoffs.
(Shown as part of the March 2006 Rendez-Vous with French Cinema Today series at Lincoln Center, Je vous trouve tres beau opened in Paris January 11, 2006.)
This is a charming story of unlikely companions cast together by circumstance and hard choices. It is interesting to see how the protagonists use their situation, once they have committed initially to their self interests, to pay each other back, and with love and compassion eventually find what they do not expect. Each phase of this progression is clearly imprinted in the viewer's experience from both points of view in a very patient, but not slow, immersion into the characters' hearts and psyches. The effect of this is to erase the viewer's point of view and leave the audience with a memorable impression of the whole, which is beautiful to behold.
J'ai trouve cette film tres beau. A lovely little film that was very
funny, if not a little disjointed. All the laughs seemed to occur in
the first half of the program, with the sadness of the heroine
overtaking the hilarity when the full realisation of her situation
A French farm couple live a fairly spartan existence, with him tending the fields and her looking after the house and the cows. Unfortunately, the second-hand milking machine blows-up, electrocuting the farmer's wife. This is where the fun starts.
Unable to cope with household chores, our farmer resorts to a marriage agency and finds himself in Bucharest, interviewing prospective young women. Although short round and bald, all the girls are trained to tell him he is handsome. (Je vous trouve tres beau). He finds this bewildering. However, he chooses one young woman desperate enough to leave Rumania.
Hiding the fact that he has procured a woman from Eastern Europe, the couple return to France, where she puts the house in order. Even the dog becomes loving under her touch. However, the farmer, long dormant in the love department, appears to be resistant to her advances. Nevertheless, he does fall for her charms, realises she is desperately unhappy, and pretending that she has won a trifecta, generously (for the first time in his life?) gives her the money to return home and be secure.
This film is amusing and emotional. It reflects country living in France and the sad situation of people living in Eastern Europe, with humour and sensitivity. You will enjoy this film, as long as you don't love cats.
This is a nice romantic comedy about a French farmer who needs a wife
(or cheap labourer) to run his farm, and who gets hitched to a young
Romanian girl who needs money to raise her daughter.
The big problem with this movie is that the girl is tragically miscast. She is played by a talented young actress, who unfortunately can't patch over the fact that she is so painfully clearly out of her love interest's league. She's one of those surreally waifish girls the French adore so much. It's a case of the beauty and the beast, and it just doesn't hold water. Apart from that, a good movie. Until the farmer's visit to Romania to pick up his wife, it's a hilarious comedy, after that it's a complex (if implausible), and surprisingly intriguing, love story.
Michel Blanc is brilliant in a very difficult role. He's at the same time pompous and boyish, and would be the ideal match for an unlikely love story.
The unsung star of this movie is the entremetteuse, Eva Darlan. She is vivacious, beautiful and terribly funny. The movie loses a lot when she drops out of the plot. I think she would have been a much better, and not least much more credible, Elena.
Another problem with this movie is that they picked Romania as the rent-a-bride's country of origin. Fifteen years ago this would have been believable. Nowadays everybody knows that Romania isn't so bad as to make pretty girls so desperate to leave it that they'd gladly hitch up to a middle-aged French hillbilly. I don't understand why the writer didn't pick a more exotic and desperate country, Albania maybe or Ossietia or whatever.
If you're looking for humour and don't mind a hefty dollop of implausible romance, this is your movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Yet another French actress has turned, via screen writing, to directing and turned out a minor gem first crack out of the box. Inasmuch as it's set on a farm and involves an older man and a young woman it is reminiscent of The Girl From Paris - and that's not a criticism; Mathilde Seigner and Michel Serrault were both excellent - and shows that it is possible to put a spin on this type of story. Michel Blanc farms what seems a touch too many acres for someone working with only a wife and a simple hired hand. Within minutes his wife expires off screen via the electric milking machine leaving Blanc with no one to cook, sew, scrub, do the milking etc so he takes the Dating Agency route and winds up in Bucharest interviewing lots of gorgeous young girls who have all mastered the same mantra 'you're so handsome'. Only one girl, the lovely Medeea Marinescu (who actually hails from Bucharest) has the wit to effect an interest in farming and winds up his best of a bad bunch mate of choice. We've been here before, of course, notably in Rachel And The Stranger, when it took stranger Robert Mitchum to make William Holden see Loretta Young as something else besides a mail-order bride, but this is none the worse for that. This is all about relationships and how difficult they are to both establish and maintain and how people CAN change the habits of a lifetime - a sequence where Blanc, who doesn't like parting with a buck, lays a few thousand euros on Elena and tells her she's cracked the lottery would normally want some swallowing but here we're more than happy to accept it. Two exceptional leads, a low-key story with just the right amount of sentiment; highly recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Each year in Australia Alliance Francaise in conjunction with Palace
Cinemas run a French Film Festival in Feb/Mar 2007 which brings out a
wide selection of the previous years best french films all sub titled
in English for those francophiles here but who are not able to
understand the spoken word.
2007 we had a wide selection of films, Depardieu, Romain Duris and this small gem I'm reviewing here. Truly it was the pick of the whole festival and by a country mile.
I have not seen Michel Blanc before who must be in his late 50s. THe female lead Medeea Marinescu is actually Romanian and plays a Romanian woman who Michels character brings her to France when after his wife dies he finds himself short of hot meals, clean clothes and help around the farm. Since there are few prospects for a wife in the area, he engages a marriage agency to find some help.
Medeea's character and performance in this film are fantastic. You can find her other work at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0547614/ I just hope this film opens some more doors for her. If you like warm hearted, romantic comedies this is cream. Deep down I believe every man is looking for an Elena
SPOILER AHEAD At the end of the film I would be running towards Elena. I'm not sure if Ayme does. If a local distributor does not pick this up they are mad (12 months later this has not happened in Australia)
A word of thanks to Antonio the boss of Palace Cinemas who was sitting in the foyer of the Westgarth Cinema last night and was kind enough to open the door for me when I was making my way back with a couple of hot chocolates and a brownie. Australia cinema goers and film festival fans have so much to thank you and your family for. Westgarth since you took over has a real buzz. We are very lucky to have a film enthusiast like you running a cinema chain. (If anyone saw the story of Anthonio's family story on ABC Dynasty series recently you will know what I mean. http://www.abc.net.au/dynasties/txt/s1790161.htm
I hadn't expect to like this movie. It deals with things from my country I desperately wanted to escape from - lack of money, desperation, the small price a woman can ask for herself. And I hadn't really liked a Romanian movie eversince I was a child and I was watching silly communist movies. But this movie had good credentials and people close to me had enjoyed it, so when I had the chance I watched it, first with prejudiced disgust, then with interest and at the end with emotion. It is a lovely movie, about not so lovely people that in the end turn out to be just fabulous. It is the first movie about ugly Romania that I actually enjoyed watching. I am grateful for that.
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