At the onset of WWII, Benedicte Drot is hired to be the housekeeper at the wealthy Parisian home of Ernest and Antoinette Treives. It is 1938 and things are changing rapidly in France. Benedicte is a young woman educated by nuns, who are their mentors in securing a job. Benedicte hails from a bourgeois family, but having been disgraced when she got pregnant, she must fend for herself without the help of her Catholic family. The daughter she delivers stays behind in the care of the nuns. Benedicte is bitter about the way her life turned.
Getting hired by Jews is, at first revolting for Ms. Drot, who has to deal with her new situation which makes her close her eyes in matters of religion because of her employers are different from her. In spite of their difference, Benedicte is taken into the family, where no mention of their Jewishness is mentioned. Antoinette is a kind soul who sees her world coming apart, first by the absence of Ernest, who is called to fight the war, and then the invading forces of the Nazi regime.
Antisemitism was rampant in those days. In fact, after Antoinette becomes pregnant, she and Benedicte flee to the countryside to stay with relatives. Antoinette bonds with Benedicte, who begins softening her views toward her rich employer. Antoinette makes a tactical mistake in moving back to Paris, where she is apprehended, leaving Benedicte alone to keep the household going.
Directed by Christian Faure and Christian Carter, "Mademoiselle Drot" was a nice variation on a theme that keeps cropping more and more in the French cinema. Those horrible days of the war are reexamined again and again by film makers perhaps to make the viewer reflect on the horrors lived during that time, or maybe because of the guilt and shame WWII brought to France and Europe. The story, while it is nothing new, it emphasizes the friendship that ultimately develops between two opposites as a time where friendship was the only thing left after all decency was lost. History, friendship and religion are the main themes in Natalie Carter's screenplay based on a novel by Helene Millerand.
Louise Monot appears as Benedicte. The film is enhanced by her presence as she must accept a situation she is forced to face. Melanie Bernier has the other important part in the film as Antoinette. The two actresses compliment one another in surprising ways. Others in supporting roles include Michael Cohen, Lionel Abelanski and Anemone.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?