Charles and Lucie are a married couple well past their prime, apparently childless and scraping a living as concierge and spectacularly untalented antique dealer respectively. Much to their surprise their rather dreary daily routine is interrupted by the announcement that they struck it rich. This leads to their re-evaluating their existence and their relationship in rather unexpected ways.
The director, who also co-wrote the script (and has a small part as a free wheeling fortune teller), created a melancholy comedy which contains a message of hope. The story is timeless, it is rich in symbolic content and could be derived from Greek mythology or even the Old Testament. Basically it is about "true" values and the limits of human power and will. It becomes evident here that in a story the author is, in a way, god.
Nelly Kaplan also has a very keen eye for fitting locations. Much of the movie was filmed in and around Marseille. The viewers get so see some of the less glamorous parts of the French Mediterranean coastline but the locations are presented in a way that they become poetic and beautiful. The set design and wardrobe are also great! Charles at one time wears a sleeveless pullover with black and yellow horizontal stripes, he really looks like a fat, lazy wasp.
I think it is wonderful to watch a movie now and then in which the main protagonists are not youthful and elastic but just normal" people who get tired from time to time. The DVD I own contains an interview with the director who says, that she regularly gets contacted by people who would like to do a remake of Charles et Lucie in the USA. If that should ever happen I hope that the leads are played by some good character actors and that the story is not abused as a star vehicle (like, for example, for Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver). That would certainly ruin the message.
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