When her husband is taken hostage by his striking employees, a trophy wife (Deneuve) takes the reins of the family business and proves to be a remarkably effective leader. Business and ... See full summary »
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
David O. Russell
Robert De Niro
In Buenos Aires, the bitter and methodic Roberto is a lonely man and the owner of a hardware store. Roberto collects bizarre worldwide news in an album as a hobby and his acquaintance Mari ... See full summary »
Muriel Santa Ana,
A film like Jean Becker's My Afternoons with Margueritte spoils me with a lyricism found not just in a small French provincial town filled with eccentric, lovable characters but also in sentiment propelled by exquisite words found in Camus and Romain Gary. And an odd couple who find love that is sometimes not named.
In perhaps a nod to Harold and Maude, Germain (Gerard Depardieu), a 50 year old non reader, meets in the park with 90 year old Margueritte (Gisele Casadesus), who initially reads to him from Camus' The Plague. As she awakens his interest in reading, his life changes, not the least of which is finding a loving mother figure for the abusive real one. Or maybe discovering Leonard Cohen's Suzanne.
So much more is layered in this romantic story: a Cheers-like café where love and disrespect, the two poles of sentiment in the film, play out in a way that exalts the affection even in the hardest of relationships; a traditional love affair for Germain with the younger Francine (Maurane) that may turn around the story's primary January-May motif but parallels it in the deeply loving relationship that seeks to perpetuate itself.
So much of My Afternoons is about renewal and rebirth, and so little is about death that the formula for too old to be young no longer applies. Nor does my expectation to be grossed out by Depardieu's enormous girth, a sad counterpoint to his dashing younger days. But wait, his weight is perfect for the role, his lines read with such understated beauty as to shout, "Where have you been, Gerard?" The bear-like man revealing a daisy-like affect is poetically perfect for the story.
If you expect the film to follow a formula, you will be correct, except maybe for the ending which confirms the motif of unnamed love conquering all. Actually, the film makes you cry for more of the odd-couple romantic formula.
As for the transforming power of books, Abe Lincoln had a witty take on the subject: "The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read." Change that to "woman" and you have My Afternoons with Margueritte.
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