|Index||9 reviews in total|
As you sit in front of Le Prénom, you can't help but think how many
similarities it shares with Carnage (Polanski, 2011): same middle class
context, almost the same setting, but with that French flavour that
makes everything much tastier. Vincent is about to become father for
the first time, and, during a dinner at his sister's house, he's asked
about the name his wife Anna and he want to give their son. This
simple, lame question sets off an evening where secrets are revealed,
feelings are declared and hypocrisy is unmasked.
I think the movie, built on a very strong and witty screenplay, wouldn't have worked the same if the actors hadn't been so good, with so much remarkable chemistry between them. The cast is directed as if it were a company in a theatre: everyone has to be empathic with the others, in order to make the script work.
Better to watch it in original language, with subtitles: it's worth the risk to miss some of the dialogue.
Mix of Un Air de Famille by Klapisch and Carnage by Polanski, Le Prénom
is clearly divided in two parts: the first is pure comedy oriented,
whereas the second is more drama focused.
The problem is that those two parts aren't homogeneous: the beginning is very good, dynamic, the dialogues fly, the humour is really present and the viewer is quickly sucked in. Unfortunately, the more the film progresses, the more the comical aspect is left aside, and the more the movie loses interest. The script goes thought bland and uninteresting passages, and we are served a dramatic aspect that isn't the most exciting one, which is disappointing in comparison to the thundering start.
A fifteen minute cut, mostly from the second part, could have also improved the overall rhythm of the movie.
Special mention to the cast who was very good and showed a great chemistry.
Usually not a big fan of french movies, but this one was surprisingly
good. It didn't bore for a single second and yes, there was sharp
dialog (even in dubbed version) but it was funny and not to the point
where one had to cover one's ears. And another plus, unlike Carnage, it
did not feature a puking which was a major bonus points earner. I
thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and think the actors did a great
job. They felt real enough that this could have actually happened at a
dinner party back at my own home. It also had a nice twist that I
didn't see coming and don 't want to spoil for anyone. Just this much,
things are not always what they seem to be. Yep, that about covers it.
A well worthy ticket for an enjoyable popcorn movie night. (8/10)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I had the chance to see Le Prénom during an Air France flight. Flying
is always a chance to see new movies and, taking advantage of the
extensive menu of movies that are unknown in Mexico I took a chance
with something I'll hardly see in my country. Between the various
french productions I saw this one mainly because it was starred by
Patrick Bruel, when I was a kid I enjoyed a lot his movie Le Jaguar
(1996), so I decided to see his acting once again now that I have more
experience and could appreciate it better.
Le Prénom is a sitcom which relies on a clever script and in the work of the actors, who play a group of friends (two marriages and a single man) that meet for a dinner to celebrate the future birth of the son of one of the couples. However when the name chosen for the baby is revealed it turns out completely unlikeable to the rest of the group. Vincent (Bruel) announces he will be called Adolphe in honor of a literary character of the XIX Century, but everyone else can only think about Adolf Hitler. From that point on the conflict between the five characters escalates, and during the evening secrets and quarrels will be revealed leaving no one untouched.
When it starts the movie is really good, the first discussion is between Vincent and Claude (Gillaume de Toquedec) the main opposer to the chosen name and it has great dialogs and convincing arguments for both points of view, it is ingenious, funny and definitively the best of the picture which, regretfully, can't keep this highpoint during all its runtime. When the movie goes on we find out Adolphe is not the real name for the kid and that everything is nothing but a practical joke played by Vincent, however this is not revealed to the characters in time and once it is is to late to stop the conflict between everyone of them. By this point the movie has lost its novelty, the viewer quickly learns how events will unfold and thus it misses some fun. A discussion ends, a silence fills the place and you know that at any moment someone will let out a comment that will lead to a new argument with some of the characters that so far have avoided the fighting, indeed that's what happens. The acting remains solid and the movie is still entertaining but not surprising.
By the end every character is unhappy and everything seems to show that nothing will ever be the same between them, this is were the ending comes and from my point of view it badly hurts the rest of the movie. We see the birth of the baby which turns out to be a girls instead of a boy and the parents call their friends so they can meet the newborn, everyone is just as happy as always and it would appear that nothing happened during that dinner, their friendship will go on with no changes. I don't have anything against happy endings and I wouldn't have any problem with the movie if the conflict had been solved in other way, but it all happens so fast and with no explanation that it left me with the feeling that the writers and the director didn't gave much of a thought to this and just took the easy way out. The ending leaves everything we saw without any consequence and thus it takes all the significance of what could have been a better film.
Good acting, funny dialogs and a good script but all hurted by a bad ending, still it ain't a bad effort and you will have fun if You watch it, give it a chance if you have the time.
"Le Prenom" is about a group of five middle-aged friends who are having
a Moroccan dinner get-together one night. The hosts are Pierre (a
literature professor) and his dutiful wife Elisabeth (nicknamed Babou).
Claude is a professional trombonist who was Elisabeth's best friend.
Vincent is Elisabeth's joker of a brother, whose wife Anna is pregnant
with their first child.
It was the matter of naming Vincent and Anna's unborn baby boy that starts us off in this adventure of bitter wit and sharp barbs all within the confines of Pierre's apartment. From a heated argument about the name Vincent plans to give his son, their conversation devolves into more serious and painful matters about each other's secrets they have been keeping from each other all these thirty odd years they have known each other as close friends.
"Le Prenom," with its confined action and lengthy dialogues, felt like a play. The passionate cast, led by Vincent Bruel and Charles Berling, were also acting like stage actors with their over-the top, exaggerated (therefore not too realistic for film) reactions and exclamations. I found out afterwards that it was adapted by Mathieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patelliere, based on their 2011 stage play.
This script of this film is reminiscent of a 2008 French play by Yasmina Reza called "Gods of Carnage", made into a film called "Carnage" by Roman Polanski. That play/film had two middle-aged couple whose arguments begin from a fight between their sons to topics totally different from what they started talking about.
As with other foreign language films, I felt a lot of the humor and wit is lost in translation into the English subtitles. Especially in a very wordy screenplay like this one with practical jokes and secret revelations, so much subtleties in the use of language is expected, and I surely missed. This is already very good as I watching it, but I have a feeling French-speaking people found it even better. I will definitely watch a live English language performance of this play if there was one.
'Le prenom' translated in English in the Shakespearean 'What's in a
Name' is even more than an adaptation, it is almost filmed theater.
Excepting the introduction which is funny but has little to do with the
film and the final few minutes which could have been much better all
the play ... sorry ... the film takes place in a Parisian apartment
where five characters mid-class, mid-age meet for dinner and live the
crisis of their lives triggered by a practical joke one of them makes
related to the name of his baby-to-come. As in Polanski's 'Carnage'
which brought to screen a play by Yasmina Reza, the border between
theater and film is never really crossed. Actually this film/play is so
close to Reza's style that I would have been fooled easily if they told
me it's written by her.
Alexandre de la Patelliere and Mathieu Delaporte brought to screen Delaporte's play and it looks like they do not have any other ambition than bringing to broader audiences the same story of good friends discovering unknown truths and hidden aspects of each other's personalities. Every ten minutes or so we do have a new revelation, each one about another of the characters involved which will put at try family relations and friendships forged decades back, in childhood. There are no social comments of actuality and no political sub-tones if we exclude some references to the left vs. conservative stereotypes, and probably the most significant (and funniest) reference is made to political correctness, related to the selection of the name of the baby boy, but it is consumed unfortunately in the first third of the movie. However, this may play eventually in the favor of the text, keeping it timeless and helping it stay actual even if read and played many years or decades from now.
At the end of the day viewing 'Le prenom' is an enjoyable experience and this is due to the well written dialog (it's a filmed play, but a good one) and to the excellent acting. I especially liked the pair of brother and sister (Patrick Bruel and Valerie Benguigi) who succeed both to bring real-life nuances to their characters, supplementary to the complexity and wit which is derived from the text. Do not avoid 'Le prenom' if it comes soon on a screen or a stage close to your place.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is a play written for the screen. It has a very smart plot,
if I may use that expression for a play. As it is for all such type of
movies, play for the screen, the key is character development within a
good story, and this film has it.
The actors deliver excellent performances, all of them, and once you start watching it, you become interested in the play because of the solid performances. Of course, the story had to be smart to keep you in your seat all the way through the movie, and it did. We get to know each of the character's story, discover the humanity in the bonds that friends have.
The appropriately named movie deals with a couple's choices of name for their yet unborn child, and how a group of friends and family get involved in that choice, over an evening at the couple's home. The history of their relationships is really what all the discussions lead to, not to mention each spewing their heart out over revelations that occur during the discussions. The ending scenes make the whole movie worth watching; it is not a disappointment, which it could have been if not for the smart screenplay.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is is the same ballpark as Daniele Thompson's Le Code A Change and that's not necessarily a bad thing given that Thompson is a seriously talented writer-director. Both movies focus largely on dinner parties involving close friends and/or families, skeletons, closets, home truths - perm any two from three. This takes about a reel and a half to hit its stride after which it delivers consistently. It benefits from a fine screenplay and some great ensemble acting by people we don't see that often outside France with Patrick Bruehl and Charles Berling having the highest profiles. It's not going to win any prizes for originality but against that it does take a well-worn plot and breathe new life into it as a fairly banal practical joke triggers repercussions far outside the scope of the original intention and a close-knit group edges close to the brink of fragmentation. It would be churlish to single out any one of the high quality performances and I for one will certainly watch it again.
This film is about a dinner party that turns very wrong, after a man
announcing that he will name his unborn son Adolphe.
"The Name" is a very dialog heavy film. It comprises of 90 minutes of non stop arguments, people throwing tempers, and being nasty to each other. The spotlight keeps changing from one character to the next, and all five characters get their share of blame and ridicule. This film reminds me so much of the Hollywood film "Carnage", which I did not enjoy. For both films, I just do not understand why any of the characters keep the argument going by being in the room, when they could easily have walked out. The two films both show an extended argument for argument's sake. All I see is endless negativity, and no artistic credit. I find "The Name" a huge bore.
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