7.5/10
6,546
48 user 32 critic
Trailer
1:17 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

To get royal backing on a needed drainage project, a poor French lord must learn to play the delicate games of wit at court at Versailles.

Director:

Patrice Leconte

Writers:

Rémi Waterhouse (scenario), Michel Fessler (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Monsieur Hire (1989)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A recluse is accused of murdering a young woman simply because his neighbors think he is strange.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Michel Blanc, Sandrine Bonnaire, Luc Thuillier
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a small French colony, a drunken man kills someone. While a guillotine is being shipped in, he changes, becoming a good and popular man.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Daniel Auteuil, Emir Kusturica
Tandem (1987)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Michel Mortez is going to and fro France to compere a radio game he created 25 years ago. He is famous among the average Frenchmen. But he is also a poker. Rivetot, his assistant and ... See full summary »

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Gérard Jugnot, Jean Rochefort, Sylvie Granotier
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Jean Rochefort, Anna Galiena, Roland Bertin
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

One night, a fading entertainer intervenes when a woman contemplates suicide, beginning a strange, unpredictable relationship.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Vanessa Paradis, Daniel Auteuil, Frédéric Pfluger
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A bank robber arrives to do a job in a small French town and strikes up a friendship with a retired poetry teacher.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Jean Rochefort, Johnny Hallyday, Jean-François Stévenin
Tango (1993)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Vincent, a stunt pilot, is acquitted of murdering his wife and her lover. However, a few years later, L'Elegant, the Judge in the case, comes to blackmail him. The Judge's nephew, Paul, is ... See full summary »

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Richard Bohringer, Thierry Lhermitte
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Three aging and failed comedians, Georges Cox, Victor Vialat and Eddie Carpentier, hit the road again with a lousy production of a lousy play, of course under the worst possible conditions.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Jean-Pierre Marielle, Philippe Noiret, Jean Rochefort
Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

During a routine transfer of prisoners from one jail to another, an accused cop killer, Paul Brandon, is temporarily chained to a con with only a year left to serve, Stéphane Carella. Paul ... See full summary »

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Bernard Giraudeau, Gérard Lanvin, Christiane Jean
Adventure | Comedy | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The life story of the titular Beaumarchais (Fabrice Luchini), playwright and adventurer, who gets himself into numerous different scrapes and romantic encounters in 18th Century France.

Director: Édouard Molinaro
Stars: Fabrice Luchini, Manuel Blanc, Sandrine Kiberlain
Voir la mer (2011)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Two brothers go on a summer vacation to visit their mother in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. The plan was to go alone on a brothers' road trip across France, but a charming young woman crosses their path.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Nicolas Giraud, Clément Sibony, Pauline Lefèvre
Directors: Christophe Alévêque, Rémi Cotta, and 8 more credits »
Stars: Agnès Akopian, Christophe Alévêque, Prescillia Andreani
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Berling ... Ponceludon
Jean Rochefort ... Bellegarde
Fanny Ardant ... Mme de Blayac
Judith Godrèche ... Mathilde (as Judith Godreche)
Bernard Giraudeau ... Vilecourt
Bernard Dhéran Bernard Dhéran ... Montalieri
Carlo Brandt Carlo Brandt ... Milletail
Jacques Mathou ... Abbé de l'Epée
Urbain Cancelier ... Louis XVI
Albert Delpy ... Baron de Guéret
Bruno Zanardi Bruno Zanardi ... Paul
Marie Pillet Marie Pillet ... Charlotte
Jacques Roman Jacques Roman ... Chevernoy
Philippe Magnan Philippe Magnan ... Baron de Malenval
Maurice Chevit Maurice Chevit ... le Notaire
Edit

Storyline

In the periwigged and opulent France of Louis XVI, an unwitting nobleman soon discovers that survival at court demands both a razor wit and an acid tongue. Written by Dawn M. Barclift

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Wit is the ultimate weapon. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic nudity, some sexuality and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Miramax [United States]

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

22 November 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Baronul See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

FRF 50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$48,539, 24 November 1996, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,503,829, 23 March 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Mathilde is a character typical of the Enlightenment era, devoted to science, embarked on the creation of a simple diving suit, called "hydrostathetic machine". This detail is historically correct, the real model being the diving suit by Freminet (1774). See more »

Quotes

Monsieur Bellegarde: Don't laugh with your mouth open. It's too rustic.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
An excellent period film.
2 April 2001 | by Anonymous_MaxineSee all my reviews

Ridicule deals with the consequences of a monarch or ruler running his empire according to his own personal interests, rather than concern for the greater good of the people. There were also a couple of underlying themes, such as the distribution of social classes overall and the ignorance of the upper classes, as well as the human suffering that comes as a result of arrogance, ego, and social status. A romantic conflict was a significant part of the story, dealing with the pain and guilt that someone may feel from seducing one person for manipulative purposes and actually being in love with a different person.

The story is of a man named Ponceludon de Malavoy who needs to drain a mosquito and disease infested swamp, but he needs King Louis XVI's help to do it. He travels to Versailles, but finds that he needs to have the sharpest of all wits in order for the king to recognize his problem at all. He finds himself in a society driven almost exclusively by the measure of each person's wit (or `hew-mah,' as they heard it was called in English), and the seriousness of Ponceludon's plight was second to this point, if it is noticed at all. It was more important to King Louis XVI to be entertained than it was to drain a swamp that was causing sickness and death even among children.

One scene in particular was very effective in demonstrating the ignorance of the upper class. There was a boy named Paul who was a deaf-mute, and seen as a `half-wit' by the upper class people. Obviously, in this society this is the last thing that anyone wants to be. He is exiled from the kingdom, sent to live with other ‘half-wits,' only to return later with several other deaf-mutes after having learned to communicate using sign language. They are introduced to the upper class members, who are skeptical about the worth of the half-wits' lives. When they see that these kids are able to communicate, they are noticeably impressed. They even give them a standing applaud when one of them manages to make a `play on signs.' They see that these kids are not only intelligent enough to communicate, but can even be witty using sign language, and this completely changes their view. They had always seen people like Paul as less important, simply because they are not able to speak or hear, which is clearly a symptom of classical ignorance.

Ridicule is a period film, and it was very effective in illustrating the differences between elements of society today and of the society of 1793. Obviously, honesty is very highly valued today. A recent survey showed that honesty is the third thing that women truly desire in a relationship (preceded by affection at No.1 and conversation at No.2). The same survey showed sex to be Number one on men's importance list, and this completes one of the sharpest contrasts seen in Ridicule. Ponceludon de Malavoy, the man seeking to have his swamp drained, is engaging in a sexual relationship with Marquis de Bellegarde, an attractive older woman of much higher social status (!!). When he informs her of his lack of emotional feelings for her, she responds in a way that, in my opinion, is exactly the opposite of the way a woman today would respond, by literally telling him to lie to her. She tells him, `Learn to hide your insincerity so that I can yield without dishonor.' Aside from the fact that this shows that she would rather be bedded than loved, at least by Ponceludon, it also enhances the drama caused by his love for someone else, and his obvious feelings of guilt about sleeping with another woman. Ponceludon does not love her, but knows that she is capable of improving his chances of getting help from the king.

Ponceludon, despite having sexual relations with Marquis de Bellegarde, the older upper class woman, is in love with a simpler, poorer woman named Mathilde. She develops very strong feelings for him as well, but she is engaged to a very old, very rich man. She is determined to remain engaged to him, even though he is currently married to another woman, so that he may finance her scuba diving interests. The fact that Ponceludon and Mathilde are both engaged in strikingly similar manipulative relationships makes their love for each other even more effective.

There were dancing scenes later in the film where everyone wears masks and huge elaborate wigs, which demonstrated a dire need to be accepted. The fact that all of the wigs and masks worn in this scene were strikingly similar suggested that these people desired to be as much like everyone else as possible, and that individuality is discouraged. The men wore white powder on their faces, blush on their cheeks, and even distinct amounts of lipstick. Aside from being another way of illustrating conformity, it also poses a huge difference between then and now. In today's society, men who wear that much make-up are most often the ones who are actually trying NOT to fit in with the general population.

One other thing that is worth mentioning is the fact that the exact words or topics spoken in the film are far less important than the way that they are said. Body language as well as things like costuming and make-up are far more important than the exact subjects that were spoken of. This was most effectively communicated to the audience by the fact that there were a few scenes where the French conversation was not subtitled. This forced the audience, particularly the English speaking audience, to focus more on the way the characters were speaking to each other rather than what exactly they were saying. This is very unusual, but is also noteworthy because it successfully furthers the meaning delivered by the film.


10 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 48 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed