Odette dreams of thanking Balthazar Balsan, her favorite writer, for the optimism which she believes emanates from him. The wealthy and seductive writer is going to land in her life in a ...
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With gun-toting rivals on his tail, a daring bank robber takes refuge in the quiet residential street here he grew up and where his mother, Maniette, still lives. An unscrupulous property ... See full summary »
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Amir Ben Abdelmoumen,
Max von Sydow
Louise, younger sister, natural and straightforward, lives in province; Martine, older sister, beautiful and aloof, lives in the Parisian upper middle class. Louise has written a novel. On ... See full summary »
The girl Mélanie Prouvost is the beloved daughter of the butchers Mrs. Prouvost and Mr. Prouvost. She is an aspirant pianist and her parents make her application to the Conservatory. During... See full summary »
Paris, 1920s. Marguerite Dumont is a wealthy woman, lover of the music and the opera. She loves to sing for her friends, although she's not a good singer. Both her friends and her husband ... See full summary »
An upper middle-class French family celebrates a birthday in a restaurant. In one evening and during one meal, family history, tensions, collective and separate grudges, delights, and ... See full summary »
Antoine Méliot is around 40 years old and has everything he needs to be happy: a beautiful wife, two adorable children, friends he can count on, a pretty house in the Yvelines and money. ... See full summary »
Odette dreams of thanking Balthazar Balsan, her favorite writer, for the optimism which she believes emanates from him. The wealthy and seductive writer is going to land in her life in a totally unexpected way. The story of a meeting between two unusual castaways who have nothing in common... Written by
Catherine Frot is a sweet-faced, sprightly French actress who looks a decade younger than her 52 years. She's also sexy in her inimitable way, and she's always watchable and versatile (she often plays confused, if not ditzy, characters, but she can turn on the drama too; see The Page Turner).
Frot has a tendency to carry any film she's in. She's one of those few actors who just lights up the screen. Alas, when the camera's not on her, borderline 'good' films like this one suddenly lose a great deal of appeal. In short, if Frot weren't in this film, I'm not sure how redeemable it would be.
Frot plays Odette Toulemonde (loose translation: 'Odette Everyone/Everywhere'), a cheerful, unworldly, dreamy sales clerk who loves the sappy books of author Balthazar Balsan (Albert Dupontel, who in real life is 10 years younger than Frot). Odette writes Balthazar a letter that, in her simple way, is profound, and inspires the writer, a sophisticated, womanizing Parisian who quotes Proust, to uproot himself and suddenly appear at Odette's house in a small Belgian town. This internationally famous writer begs to stay with her. This is all highly implausible of course, but 'Odette' is a fantasy film more than anything else, so plausibility is a non-issue.
This has been called 'a feel-good' film. That might be true, but it also strains credulity to make us feel 'good'. Noticeably, after a promising first half, it begins to bog down in the second, showing its deficiencies by becoming frequently boring and clichéd (e.g. the all-too-familiar sullen, alienated daughter and the upbeat gay son). The film doesn't quite know where its focus is supposed to be. But if you're an incurable romantic, you might well overlook its flaws and love it. For me, it was worth watching just to see Catherine Frot scale the heights and conquer once more.
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