Antoine has always been fascinated with a hairdresser's delicate touch, the beguiling perfume and the figure of a woman with an opulent bosom, moreover, he knew that he would marry one, fulfilling his dream of a perfect and idealised love.
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Twelve-year-old Antoine falls profoundly in love with a voluptuous but suicidal hairdresser, a formative experience he never forgets. Much later in life, he seeks to repeat his romance by marrying Mathilde - also voluptuous and also a hairdresser - with whom he forms an intimate and consuming relationship in an attempt to blot out the miseries of this world from their lives.Written by
I hold foreign films in a different light from movies of North American mainstream cinema. I must admit - I'm more subjective when it comes to a foreign film. Why? I guess because they aren't in my language, usually have names I don't recognize. Most have turned out well, but not all. Perhaps the view that foreign movies are generally of good quality comes from the fact that the general public is only exposed to foreign films of good quality. The comparison to "our" movies help too. Most people don't watch foreign cinema unless it's of the few hyped releases that have made the jump to American audiences. Unfortunately that's a pretty select group year after year.
The Hairdresser's Husband is not such a foreign film. It didn't make the language barrier jump which is unfortunate. It's well worth the watch for anyone not completed saturated by American movies and customs. The film is equal parts drama and comedy. It follows Antoine (Jean Rochefort) who as a little boy becomes infatuated with the local hairdresser almost like a secret boyhood crush. From that day on the love of a female hairdresser becomes part of his character. He grows up intent he will marry a hairdresser and hence the title -- "The Hairdresser's Husband". He's the kind of person you know will make no harm in the world. Even in adulthood in many respects he is still a child. His personality is such that you'd look at him and know what kind of person he is. He's searching for happiness.
He walks into a local hairdresser's shop and becomes mesmerized by Mathilde (Anna Galiena) the shop's hairdresser. She is beautiful and has a natural free flowing charm. Next thing he's getting his hair cut and inadvertently blurts out "Will you marry me?". General awkwardness follows. The next day, he comes back. Obviously not needing a cut. She tells him she heard what he said and the next thing they are together and they couldn't be more happier. Life suddenly has more depth and meaning. Like it's been in wait for this moment in time. They live in each others warmth.
"The Hairdresser's Husband" is a kind hearted film that isn't so much a story, but a character study carried out by talented performances and real emotions. Asking nothing of us but acceptance as it plays out. Although it is relatively brief, the short running time actually suits the material too. In an American movie, Antoine would have lost her somewhere in act two and had to battle to get her back from a person not deserving of her before having happiness again. They might have thrown in a subplot centering around their best friends too. That's the way Hollywood movies are. Thankfully there are no contrived plot points or useless characters thrown about here. It's all a tight package. It's sad seeing things ending up back at step one as shown at the start, but that does nothing to impact this foreign film I recommend to anyone with a sense of empathy.
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