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My Afternoons with Margueritte (2010)
"La tête en friche" (original title)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,742 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 23 user | 79 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

An illiterate and lonely man bonds with an older and well-read woman.

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(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Germain Chazes
Gisèle Casadesus ...
Margueritte
Maurane ...
Francine
...
Landremont
Jean-François Stévenin ...
Jojo
François-Xavier Demaison ...
Gardini
Claire Maurier ...
La mère
...
Annette
Mélanie Bernier ...
Stéphanie
Matthieu Dahan ...
Julien
Jérôme Deschamps ...
Le maire
Gilles Détroit ...
Dévallée
Régis Laspalès ...
M. Bayle
Anne Le Guernec ...
La mère jeune
Jean-Luc Porraz ...
Le notaire
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Storyline

An illiterate and lonely man bonds with an older and well-read woman.

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

16 September 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La tête en friche  »

Filming Locations:


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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Quotes

Germain Chazes: It's not a typical love affair, but love and tenderness, both are there. Named after a daisy, she lived amongst words, surrounded by adjectives in green fields of verbs. Some force you yield to. But she, with soft art, passed through my hard shield and into my heart. Not always are love stories just made of love. Sometimes love is not named but it's love just the same. This is not a typical love affair I met her on a bench in my local square. She made a little stir, tiny like a bird with her ...
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Soundtracks

Le chanson de Germain
Performed by Gérard Depardieu
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User Reviews

 
The town handyman (Depardieu) discovers books & a true friend with 95 year old woman; a most enjoyable film
7 October 2011 | by (Rockville, MD) – See all my reviews

Germain (Gerard Depardieu) is not illiterate. He knows how to read and write, but he really prefers not to. For one, he is not very good at reading, he goes slowly and he uses his finger to follow the lines across the page. However, his comprehension is pretty good, especially when someone reads aloud to him. He imagines the scene in his mind and if the reader is describing rats in the street he can see those rats squirming around in enough detail that it makes him uncomfortable. Not being a big fan of reading and not being known as any sort of intellectual at his local bar is just fine by Germain. He is a town handyman, a very capable gardener, appreciates his girlfriend, and is not depressed about his station in life.

His station isn't very high either. He lives in a trailer behind his mother's house and makes ends meet by being good with his hands, be it woodworking or gardening. One advantage to not having a steady 9-5 job is lunch in the park. Germain enjoys making a sandwich and leisurely eating it on his favorite park bench where he can monitor the pigeons. He goes there enough to know that in fact there are 19 usual pigeons hanging around and he even has names for all of them. It is here in the park where he meets 95 year old Margueritte (Gisele Casadesus). The park gives her a chance to escape the old folks home for a bit and read out in the sunlight.

Margueritte and Germain strike up a pleasant friendship where she reads aloud and he appreciates the stories. This is the first time in his life someone has ever taken the time to talk with him one on one about stories, how they make you feel, and what the author may have been thinking about. Germain has bad memories from his childhood, both from an unfriendly school and an uninterested mother. Margueritte sees through his thick exterior and recognizes a kind of kindred spirit, one who really appreciates a good story and crisp sentences. In another life and with decent surroundings, Margueritte surmises Germain could have been an author himself.

All of these new ideas, books, and learning makes his life a bit more uncomfortable. His friends at the bar notice his vocabulary is raising a notch or two and his girlfriend Annette (Sophie Guillemin) is starting to wonder where all of this self improvement is coming from. Give My Afternoons with Margueritte a strong point in the good script column that is sidesteps what could have been a misunderstanding with a real scene of openness, frustration, and acceptance.

Gerard Depardieu gives a very strong performance here as a guy everyone likes, except his mother, and who enjoys his life in his small town. This comes off a very good performance he had last year with Inspector Bellamy. Gisele Casadesus has shown up three times in the movies in the past few months. She has bit parts in Sarah's Key and The Hedgehog and for a lady of such an advanced age, she really has a grasp on Margueritte and how she would feel towards a man approaching middle age whose earlier experiences stunted what could have been a wonderful relationship between him and the world of books. She may be the only 95 year old in France capable of still turning out a good performance which is why she is getting every single role in France which calls for one.

My Afternoons with Margueritte is a very pleasant way to spend your own afternoon. Watching Germain and Margueritte plod through a Camus novel is refreshing and it is truly enjoyable to sit back and watch a script unfold which chooses to step away from cliché and focus on character and style.


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