My Wife Is an Actress (2001) Poster

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A Semi-Documentary? Heaven Forfend!
Ralph Michael Stein21 July 2002
Director/writer/co-star Yvan Attal is actually married to co-star Charlotte Gainsbourg, an effervescent and shimmering bilingual (French/English) beauty. And they both can act.

This is a comedy with a dark but non-violent edge. Gainsbourg plays "Charlotte," a star of both French and English films who graciously dispenses autographs left and right and during dinner at restaurants. Attal plays "Yvan," a doting but increasingly disturbed sportscaster who wears down dealing with his wife's intrusive fans and, more critically, his mounting fears that she is having it off with her aging but still presumably babe-magnet co-star in a London studio filming, "John" (Terence Stamp)

Yvan apparently is underutilized at work because he has the time to brood deeply and split to London whenever his antagonistic feelings of longing for and suspicion of his spouse surface (which they do increasingly).

Stamp gives a delightful portrayal of an old actor whose wife doesn't understand him but he's straddling the pursuit of Charlotte with the subtle reality that he's getting a bit old for that sort of thing. Stamp brings a bemused actor's attempts at dalliance to life.

There's an extraneous sub-plot in which Yvan's sister, seriously Jewish, belabors her non-Jewish husband to agree to be circumcised as they await the birth of their first child. This irrelevant and uninteresting side story at least stretches the film out to a barely respectable 93 minutes, justifying the $10 admission.

There are amusing scenes, the best being when Charlotte negotiates with her frenetic director for terms on which to appear naked in a scene. The resolution is both predictable and hilarious.

While few of us have mates or lovers who are in the public eye as Charlotte is, Yvan's increasing jealousy will strike a familiar chord with many viewers. In real life happy endings to episodes of mounting distrust, approaching paranoia, are few.

A good, enjoyable film. But now I'm wondering about the real life marriage of Yvan and Charlotte.

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Watchable. But likeable?
dgave4 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
CAUTION: SPOILERS! It ain't paranoia if it's really happening.

In "My Wife Is an Actress" beleaguered French sportswriter Yvan (played by Yvan Attal, who also wrote and directed)is overcome by jealous worries that his beautiful movie star/wife Charlotte (played by Attal's real-life wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg) might be unfaithful. Yvan fears that Charlotte, who's left their Paris home to film a movie in London, might succumb to the advances of her sexy and disreputable leading man. Yvan's fears, stoked by, among other things, a conversation with a cloddish acquaintance, drive the action in this romantic comedy, which isn't always that comedic.

(SPOILER) Several reviewers have labeled Yvan's worries as paranoid. But it ain't paranoia if it's really happening. Turns out Yvan was right to worry. Charlotte falls rather readily for her co-star (Terence Stamp), whose moves are subtle and low-pressure. She has an excuse--Yvan planted the thought in her head with his ranting on the subject and his frequent unannounced trips to London to check up on her. Of course she's obligated to follow her little crush through all the way and sleep with the guy, all the while reassuring her husband that she is not.

Bear in mind that her fling is with a pasty, paunchy hack twice her age, as played delightfully by Stamp. You've got to figure a Russell Crowe-like young stud would have her on her back in about 10 seconds.

Following her assignation, Charlotte suffers apparent pangs of guilt and boards the Chunnel train for Paris and Yvan. After some innocent misunderstanding they get back together and she continues to tell Yvan that she has not slept with her co-star. Yvan knows she's lying: "You know something? You're a great actress," he says.

This movie is watchable and enjoyable, thanks to the attractiveness of its stars and Stamp's old-pro performance. But it is not particularly likeable, as romantic comedies are supposed to be. Ultimately it is a story about a marriage that is doomed to failure: he's obsessively jealous and she's unfaithful and a liar. Not a good combination. Worse, (SPOILER) the vehicle Charlotte and Yvan choose to cement their relationship--having a baby--is almost guaranteed to hurt, not help, a shaky marriage.

Charlotte is the film's most interesting character. She is not particularly likeable and is made palatable only by the immense appeal of the actress, Ms. Gainsbourg. In this the film is similar to another French movie about adultery, "Un Pointe Entre Deux Rives," or "The Bridge," in which the grace and beauty of the Audrey Hepburn-like Carole Bouquet make a rather unlikeable character somewhat more sympathetic than she should be.

Much has been made of the fact that the characters' names are the same as Attal's and Gainsbourg's real-lfe names. Is "My Wife Is an Actress" autobiographical? I hope not, for both their sakes.
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Film lacks strength
rosscinema23 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
This is a film that could have had something insightful to say about celebrity marriages or it could have attempted to be a scathing dark comedy but unfortunately it does neither. Story is about a French sports writer named Yvan (Yvan Attal) who is married to a famous actress named Charlotte (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and when she travels to London to work on a film he starts to think whether he should trust her or not. One event puts him over the edge and it's when an obnoxious man starts asking him personal questions about the fact that the sex is real between actors. Yvan punches the guy out but he realizes that his wife's leading man is notorious for sleeping with his co-stars.


He travels to London and surprises Charlotte and he meets her leading man John (Terence Stamp) and instantly Yvan doesn't like him. Then later to his surprise he is told by his wife that she has a crush on him but is not sure how seriously.

This film is directed by it's lead actor Yvan Attal and he and Gainsbourg are married in real life. Attal wrote the script as well and you would think that he would show more insight to the dilemma's of being married to an attractive actress but he doesn't and instead the film plays like a very light comedy. When Charlotte admits her attraction to her co-star this should have led to a more complex angle to the story but it ends up resolving itself in a very predictable manner. The actors are good and you can't help but wish more could have been done with Stamp's role. He's too good of an actor to be in something so throwaway. Ludivine Sagnier pops up as an acting student and she does offer Attal something to think about in a small role. This is a film that could have benefited greatly if the script had a harder edge to it and the actors are all talented enough to pull it off but instead we get a lukewarm comedy. There are some good moments but your definitely left thinking more could have been done.
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A mirror of early marriage and acting mythology
gleywong11 January 2003
Warning: Spoilers
The readers' reactions to this film were not what I expected-- most seem to be*spoilers*, but I think they, for the most part, have missed the point. This is a multi-lingual farce that shows the director/writer Yvan Attal to have wit and wonder. Those who do not like it are taking it too much at face value and have not tuned in to the very underhanded sense of humor that propels the rhythm of this comedy. Every romance between two talented people is bound to experience this kind of mutual jealousy and mistrust, as part of the growth in a relationship. If they don't, they are kidding themselves. In order to make the film, Attal obviously had to have the "consent" of all the adults in it, and he had to discuss the danger factors as he pried open his more naive characters, himself included. Some of the viewers saw him as a lout. I think Attal must have gone through a kind of "self-analysis" as he made the film, and for a director to present himself as a lout is, after all, rather rare. Loutishness is just one side of a personality that the love relationship brings out. All of these ups and downs are presented on a plate, as in a delicious "tasting meal" one can savor at a chef-driven restaurant. Not everyone will like all the little morsels, but all of them represent the chef's (Attal's) inner and outer struggle with himself (and his wife's) as part of the acting and film industry and being a "talent."

A couple of my favorite scenes: 1) his parody of the acting studio as he demonstrates a flower opening; 2) his seeing himself in multiple after he finds out that Charlotte is pregnant (in this age of cloning, how wittier can you get with this image!?);3) his demonstration of "l'amour fou" as he races back and forth on the train through the Chunnel to be with his beloved only to be squelched at the other end.

I also was not at all offended by the secondary plot of his sister and her baby. Many young couples constantly grouse at each other as part of their communicating style -- he and his sister as siblings demonstrate their familiarity by biting at each other like cubs. It may not be very pleasant for bystanders, but, in fact, it is very real human behavior, just not part of the iced-cake sibling relationships depicted by Hollywood.

I started to watch this film with no expectations, and came away totally delighted, having thought that romantic comedies could no longer be found in film.

Of five stars, I would give it **** four and look forward to more of his films. I wouldn't worry about their marriage!
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A Nice French Film
Whitney Bryan13 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Charlotte is a film star, and Yvan is a sports journalist. When Charlotte goes to London to make a film with a famous English actor who is just as famous for seducing his leading ladies, Yvan becomes jealous and follows his wife to London, putting their marriage at risk.

The film is most interesting for its look at the difficulty of relationships when other people get involved. Yvan becomes truly jealous only after others encourage him to have doubts. His jealousy becomes an obsession and leads Charlotte to look at her co-star, who seems very supporting and caring, with new eyes.

This 2001 French film is a nice directorial debut from actor Attal, who claims that all his films have an autobiographical aspect. In fact, Attal is married to his co-star, Charlotte Gainsbourg.

SPOILER COMMENT: Many on this site have commented about the lie Charlotte tells at the end of the film. I have to comment that this lie stems from a European mentality that does not translate very well into American. A French friend of mine once told me that if her husband had an affair but realized that it was a mistake, she would not want to know about it. As she said, she would not want her life ruined over a mistake. He would feel guilty enough. Of course, not everyone in Europe feels this way, but many do, and I believe that this scene stems from such a mentality.
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funny movie
heresmycomment25 January 2004
I love this movie. it doesn't have special effects or anything. it is just a basic story about a husband and wife. The acting is superb!!! The jokes are actually funny. The only thing I didnot like was the DP's work. Some of the shots could have been better angle.
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Technically a great comedy... if it weren't for the promotion of the crime of Genital Mutilation
reamail-imdbcom5 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Technically a great comedy... if it weren't for the insistent promotion of the crime of Male Genital Mutilation.

Technically, the movie could be too quickly evaluated as a great fresh humorist comedy about the couple Yvan and his actress wife Charlotte, who as a star is exposed to the temptation of matrimonial infidelity. This main plot evolves as a state of the art comedy with a happy ending.

However, the subplot about Male Genital Mutilation (circumcision) is insistent and forceful. The story of the baby expected throughout the movie by Yvan's sister is an important element of this insidious propaganda. In effect, the film pretends to have a happy ending; however we learn at the very end, at a time when everything else seems to happy end, that this baby will not be spared this heinous crime. This unfortunate turn of event for the baby is actually presented as a positive resolution of the conflict between Yvan's Jewish sister and her French 'goy' (non-Jewish) husband, who have been quarreling about it since the beginning. The father has been resisting too softly to effectively guaranty the success of his paternal protective duty, so it really should not come as a surprise to the audience that we learn at the very end that he has surrendered.

The promotion of this crime against male children Human Rights is reinforced by an important group nude scene supposed to be very funny. This scene involves many adults (the crew of a film being shot within the main plot of the movie), all naked while shooting a love scene involving the heroin star actress Charlotte (she had stated in a mood swing that she could not shoot that scene if everyone else wasn't naked too (ha ha, funny from her director to take her on her word, really, funny!). However, it is interesting to note that the only genitalia we actually get to see are the male ones, and they seem to all (or most) be missing their foreskin, as in to say that such is the reality of the French male anatomy, as in to make a statement: 'mutilated male pride'. Fortunately, it is not true that all French males are so emasculated. Considering how sensitive children can be with their body image, I am saddened that many boys, who may be blessed with a normal intact anatomy (and responsible human parents), may feel traumatized by the view of such a distorted reality, feeling that they may be abnormal, when they are the ones that should feel normal.

The main characters of Charlotte and Yvan are interpreted by the real life couple of actress Charlotte Gainsbourg and actor/film maker Yvan Attal. At the time of the movie, their baby boy must have been around 2-3 years old. Considering the importance of the sub-theme of Male Genital Mutilation in the movie, and the somewhat autobiographic style of the film, I felt forced to imagine that the movie was perhaps an attempt by the two protagonists and Yvan Attal in particular, to seek some redeeming moral support by the mirror of the audience who is skillfully tricked into considering the crime against their baby boy as a happy event, to be associated with all the other happy ending elements of the movie, while making a statement of emasculated male pride through the group nude scene. This exhibitionism of their private life is a feeling I would have rather avoided, but the real life facts easily findable online and the insistence on the subplot on Male Genital Mutilation naturally got my imagination going.

Most importantly, it seems rather careless to propose a film apparently for a wide audience so frankly on the wrong side of the Human Rights, and so frankly trying to justify a crime of child physical and psychological abuse, child genital mutilation, child torture, while promoting a multi-ethnic and religious married couple's conflict resolution in favor of barbaric ritual practices versus common sense and universal Human Rights.

This film is in my mind, well intentioned or not, a de-facto criminal piece of work which participates in the massive conspiracy against defenseless non-consenting underage males' physical integrity, with the full weight of the state of the art of modern comedy making. Such piece of work should be severely censored and participants seriously sentenced, as a deterrent for others who would otherwise dare plotting against children's health and security. 'In a perfect world', far beyond reasonable freedom of expression contingencies, such a crime against a child's Human Rights could not possibly be presented as a happy ending without legal sanctions.
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Interesting premise which fizzled
bbbl6712 May 2003
Now the description of this movie immediately got me interested: real-life husband and wife, Yvan & Charlotte, play a husband and wife named Yvan & Charlotte! Charlotte is an actress (as in real-life), and Yvan is jealous about the scenes between her and her leading men. Now isn't that something that immediately makes you think you're voyeuring into some real-life predicaments? Well, it didn't work. There was no chemistry between Charlotte and Terrance Stamp (John), the supposed object of jealousy for Yvan. You just didn't buy the idea that Yvan could ever be jealous of John.

There was an interesting sub-story involving Yvan's sister who is a Jew married to a Christian. The story involves circumcision of a baby boy that will be born to them soon. I wish they spent more time on this substory rather than the main story. The substory was so much more interesting.
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Suspicion of foul play
jotix10030 August 2002
If anyone ever wonder why is the French film industry in the terrible state is is, one could suggest a look at this picture to realize why.

The director is Jewish. He obviously has an agenda to throw it in our face at every given moment. He starts in the opening scene when Charlotte and Yvan are having dinner with his sister and brother-in-law and immediately we get to know this poor goy is in deep trouble, and so are we.

I mean, who cares what religion any one of these characters practice? The film loses all sense of direction right away.

Only in France can trash like this could be made under the pretense that something artistic is being shown.

The story has potential but it goes into a coma and never recuperates. A waste of talent to have Terence Stamp do nothing, as well as Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Let's hope no one will finance this genius in his next venture and spare us having to sit through another "masterpiece" like this in the future.

My advice to M. Attal would be that he goes to Israel and study film direction under a great director, Dover Kosashvili, who makes Jewish stories so subtly that they are universal.
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France's sweethearts November 2001
It's not the first time that cinema wants to make us share the intimacy of its stars, F.Truffaut in "La Nuit Américaine", had already given us a magic , almost documentary-like sometimes, film about life on the shooting of a movie, and the problems of stardom in private life. Closer to us "Notthing Hill" and "America's Sweethearts" (both with the Bubly Julia Roberts) had shown an almost fairy tale-like vision of romance between stars and "anonymous", very disapointing and quite uninteresting by the way! But this french romantic comedy is a miracle! It avoids all the obstacles on which the 2 previous movies had crashed, in breef, its strengh , sucess and personality come from its "frenchness", and also, but it's so obvious that I quite forgot to say it(!),from the couple in life starring the couple in the film (!!) : Charlotte Gainsbourg & Yvan (and not Yvonne as calls him Terence Stamp!!!!) Attal. Attal films his wife with intelligence, sensibility and simplicity, as if he wanted us to understand and to share his love for her, and, guess what......he suceeds!! We can't help loving her! We saw her growing, become a woman, an actress, with her style , at the same time like her mother (Jane Birkin) but also herself, more fragile, more beautiful, gracious and...rare. Attal as chosen her because she's his wife, but she is the only actress that could have brought to the movie such a fresh touch, and that could have provoked such an enthousiasm; for she is that actress everyone knows almost since ever. Yvan Attal plays Yvan , Charlotte's husband, a sports journalist that somehow lives in her shaddow, he had already chosen in his short movie on this theme to be a John Doe. This choice is catchy for like this he "embodies" the spectator, but it also gives him the opportunity to have a kind of naive vision of the seventh art world...but maybe he just doesn't consider himself has a real star and leaves the spotlight to his wife..... chivalrous, French and talented, what a catch Charlotte!!! To put in a nutshell the movie works perfectly, and its chemistry works so well, so easily, that "heaven, we're in heaven(!)" and Terence Stamp's guest star's appearing is just perfect, a slight touch of Britain...rejoycing!
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Excellent piece of work
lolly_pop198326 February 2003
It's been a while since I've seen it I must admit, but I loved it then and I love it now. It's a classic love story of a married couple (who really are married to each other in real life) told in a way I haven't seen before. It's the first French film I was exposed to and I've loved every one since then. The chemistry between the actors is excellent and the nude scene is classic. I only wish it was out on dvd here in England so I could watch it again and again! One of my absolute favourite films of the past year.
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Near miss
George Parker16 December 2002
"My Wife is an Actress" is all about a man who becomes jealous of his wife's handsome costar when she's required to do boudoir scenes. A so-so romantic comedy with precious little romance, this flick fails to focus on the central question which asks: How do you know if your wife is cheating de facto, in heart or mind, while she performs in bed with another man for the cameras? Instead, the film ruminates about the jealous husband and the tentative wife with occasional excursions into a whole side matter about circumcision which contributes nothing while managing to conjure up a few delightfully clever scenes. With good art, excellent camera work, and solid performances, this half English, half French flick makes for a nominal subtitled watch best saved for broadcast. (B-)
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interesting, but something lost in the translation
david77m15 September 2002
This film begins with an interesting idea, and moves along well for a time, but for me it failed to maintain its pace and hold my interest fully. Perhaps something was lost in the translation. One minute Charlotte is saying that things have been bad for them, Yvan and herself, and the next she's overjoyed that she's pregnant. I'm not really clear on her relationship with either of the male characters. It did have some funny moments, but overall, I was somewhat disappointed.
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A monstruous bore
Superwonderscope18 November 2001
Some american friends told me once that what makes a french movie is : a train scene, a love scene, some T&A in an arty way, a sex scene, a quarrel scene and some candid stuff about Paris bein' THE most romantic place on earth.

No doubt, MA FEMME EST UNE ACTRICE is a french movie. You got it all here. Does that make a good movie? No.

The director, Yvan Attal, is also the lead here. He's married in real life with Charlotte Gainsbourg who is also...his wife in this movie. As he's also the screenwriter, he decided to keep their first names to tell the story of a sports reporter married to a beautiful & successful actress. What seems to be a good idea in the beginning ends up in a dead end. You just stick with his idea all along and nothing else happens. He's just jealous of what may happen off set with some other actor ( the great Terence Stamp, the only one being professional around here). And...that's about it.

Yvan Attal is over-acting (and this is beyond cliché) the jerky jewish jealous husband. His sister (director-turns-actress Noemie Lvovsky) is doing the same job as the pregnant wife (married to a catholic) who hysterically wants her soon-to-be-born son to be circumsized. Only their parents seem to be well balanced.

It looks like a french imitation of Woody Allen's works (a la Radio Days)or, for the worst, Neil Simon's, but with no talent shown, no rhythm, except for Charlotte Gainsbourg luminous interpretation : she's the real asset here. If you add a few homophobic lines, some more clichés about Arabs who are unable to talk except with their fists, blondes who look like Vampire Vixens from Venus with no brains at'll get a boring movie about an actor speaking about what is life being married to a gorgeous actress.

It may have been an interesting premise : actors speaking about their actors... it's just another french flick, pompous and pretentious filled with clichés. It brings nothing new to what you may think about the actors world : you may adore them but they're just like everybody else. Thrilling, huh?

I'll make up a new genre especially for that movie : the Uncomedy.

Superwonderscope says : 2
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Opportunity Wasted
Red-12524 September 2002
This film had a real chance of success. The basic premise--How does a man feel when his wife is famous and he isn't?--holds lots of creative possibilities.

Unfortunately, these possibilities are never realized. We never understand why a famous actor would want this lout of a sportswriter as her husband. (Incidentally, he is the only sportswriter I know

who never appears to have a deadline.)

The movie is miscast. The wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg, is supposed to be drop-dead beautiful in the context of the film, and Ms. Gainsbourg is certainly attractive, but not at that level. Also, Terence Stamp, the third side of the triangle, is supposed to be miraculously attractive to young women, and I don't see that either. It is one thing to suspend disbelief, but another to throw disbelief out the window.

A subplot about the husband's sister, who is Jewish, and her pregnancy never works. In fact, as a physician, all I could do was cringe as the sister smoked throughout her pregnancy. I think that was supposed to be charming.

We get so few French movies in Upstate New York that I hate to criticize the ones we do get, but this movie is just not worth the price of admission, no matter how starved we are for French films.
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Less bitter than sweet romcom
Framescourer10 November 2006
An entertaining, easy-going flick about the business. Charlotte Gainsbourg and Yvan Attal play characters with their names in an all-but-identical relationship. Strain creeps into their relationship with the realities of one being a movie star and both of them having to question what it is to be a screen actor.

Now 8 and 1/2 I'm quite sure this is not but it has a brisk pace and a wry, insider's eye to keep a good balance between self-analysis and fun. Gainsbourg is a good actress for such a role capable from veering between gravitas and whimsical silliness in a short space of time. Attal's own engaging buffoon husband is mirrored with Terence Stamp's ageing, good-humoured Lothario and an intensely Gallic sub-relationship as Attal's sister and brother in law war over circumcising their unborn child.

London and Paris feature but are not particularly beautifully shot; the disposable nature of the film is deepened somewhat by a well-judged, wistful original score by Brad Mehldau. 6/10
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Very Amusing Take on Egos and Jealousies in the Movies
noralee6 December 2005
"My Wife is an Actress" shocked me before I went to the theater: my husband wanted to see it! That hasn't happened with a chick flick since "Legally Blonde." I thought there was a Pretty Woman involved, but he protested, "What, you don't think I read reviews?" I plead the fifth on that one.

"Ma femme est une actress "is, probably coincidentally, a comic take on a British furor over last year's "Intimacy," where a husband/journalist spoke out on not being jealous, well, not really jealous, when his wife/actress films explicit sex scenes in a serious movie. Here, writer/director/star Yvan Attal (as "Yvan," an adorable sports reporter, who manages to be a guy's guy without being obnoxiously macho about it) plays out the same situation with his real-life wife Charlotte Gainsbourg (as "Charlotte", with irresistible charm and equanimity).

While the film isn't just from Yvan's point of view, we certainly do see the difficulties of living with a Famous Person. He's grounded in real life by his comic relief Jewish sister and gentile brother-in-law whose arguing over their impending child gets annoying after awhile and starts raising some stereotype hackles by the end, though is still amusing.

Even as Yvan descends into jealousy as he tries to delve into the psyche of actors, the comic tone is deftly kept up, especially as Charlotte deals with both him and her lecherously attractive co-star, the ever smooth Terence Stamp (with a particularly funny take on filming nude love scenes amidst a large crew).

So here's another chick flick from a guy's viewpoint that can work.

(originally written 8/11/2002)
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Charming little romantic comedy
LeStratege3 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Some people who commented the movie here seem to have misunderstood a few things. I don't think Charlotte cheats on Yvan, I don't know where some people here got the idea, but even if we can see she contemplates the idea, she never does it, which shows an understanding of her husband predicament. Also, Yvan's sister and her husband are only discussing whether their BABY should be circumcised. Never was it mentioned that the circumcision would include the husband as some here have written. Some were thinking that this story had nothing to do in that movie but I think it has everything to do with it, since I think this movie is about couples that deal and overcome problems created by the very nature of the individuals in the couple, and this can exist in many various ways. It is about how you can deal with something that is not changeable (Charlotte is an actress and isn't going to change that, and Nathalie is Jewish and it is not going to change, she actually clings onto that in a very selfish - she ponders her baby's interest, his very identity while chainsmoking throughout her pregnancy, to the ridiculous despair of some reviewers - and ridiculous way - her own father calls her a crazy lot...)

The story is therefore more about how Yvan learns to deal with the fact that his wife is something that he won't be able to change, hence his adaptation.

This is a grown-up romantic comedy. Love isn't a given forever once you marry, as all American romantic comedies seem to tell (they mostly describe - in a very predictable way - how love begins, never how it is nurtured, therefore giving the feeling that American romantic comedies are designed for tweens who have never been in love before). This seems to be Yvan Attal's main concern judging from his other movie "Ils se marierent et eurent beaucoup d'enfants" (the traditional last sentence of french fairy tales): Falling in love is not really difficult, it is actually very easy as illustrated in this movie by the encounter with the very lovable Geraldine, the theatre student. STAYING in love IS the difficult part, and this is what this movie is all about...

Also, some cultural references may have not be understood by people not familiar with France (Ophelie Winter in the train, Nagui, Marc Lavoine and Catherine Lara in the restaurant are all famous folks in France, the reference to some of the Paris Saint Germain football club fans) and may have made some scenes a bore while they were actually pretty funny for those able to fully grasp the situation.

Overall, an interesting subject, nicely done and a charming cast (again unlike others have said the actress didn't need to look like J-Lo and the actor like Brad Pitt to believe in their mutual attraction. Like only good-looking people can seduce...)
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Nice French farce
Chris_Docker7 October 2002
A French actress leaves home to shoot a film in London, her husband, a sports reporter gets jealous of her love scenes with co-star Terence Stamp, and the plot leaves a myriad standard devices open for an amiable French farce. Well-acted within modest aspirations, Ma Femme Est Une Actrice is a delightful little film that keeps your attention sufficiently to stay away and want to read the subtitles.
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A delight!
fanaticita15 May 2003
I'm not familiar with French films, but I purposely bought this film because I am a long-time fan of Terence Stamp. And as always I am never disappointed in his presence on the screen. Ivan Attal was hilarious as the jealous husband -a very talented, animated actor. Charlotte did a fine job, but seemed low energy or bored most of the time. The attraction between Charlotte and Terence was laughable. I caught that amusement in Terence's behavior whenever he was around her -he really couldn't care less, could he, but why not try? His lack of enthusiasm was evident when he approached Charlotte's assistant with: "Well, what are YOU doing tonight?"

At the end of the "I'm pregnant!" scene, I wanted to know: Whose baby?
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Nice and Flat
dromasca9 May 2003
This is a nice little movie, but far from the best achievements of the French cinema. The story of a movie star with a jealous husband, and the problems in their marriage never got me too interested, or to worried about the characters fate. It was all too clear where the movie is going from the beginning. I am not a fan of 'romantic comedy' where this film belongs either, and I have seen much better movies in this genre. Also, Charlotte Gainsbourg is not strikingly beautiful as the role demanded, and Terence Stamp is well over the age to trigger an affair interest with a young female star. These casting mistakes, as well as the conventionalism of the movie make of it just a flat and non-interesting experience. 6/10 on my personal scale.
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Light comedy based on the actors' real lives goes on too long
Chris Knipp5 August 2002
Charlotte Gainsbourg has starred in `The Little Thief' in French and `The Cement Garden' in English and in about 26 other movies. She's been in films at least since she was thirteen, so it seems surprising she's only 31. Her parents were Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, both French cinema and pop culture icons. In this movie with the straightforward title, `My Wife Is an Actress,' her longtime companion and the father of their child, Yvan Attal, directs her and plays her husband in a story about an actress named Charlotte (who's famous) and her sports writer husband named Yvan (who's not), and the problems he has with this simple fact: she's a movie star; he's not.

It might have been more truthful to call the movie `My Wife Is More Famous Than I Am,' because Yvan Attal isn't an unknown sports writer; he's a movie actor too, and he's been in 23 movies himself, including the excellent `Love Without Pity' (`Un monde sans pitié, 1989), directed by Eric Rochant. He's just not as famous as Charlotte, and this is the first full-length film he's directed. What's it like to be constantly reminded that your wife is more popular and better known at the same thing that you do? That might be a more interesting subject, if less suitable for light romantic comedy, which is what `Ma femme est une actrice' aims to be. Yvan Attal has cast himself as a kind of everyman, a little guy.

Regardless of your occupation, you might be jealous, if your wife were making out with actors in front of the camera all the time. That's what gets through to Yvan – the movie Yvan -- when an annoying fellow introduced to him at a bar by his tiresome obsessively Jewish sister, Nathalie (Noémie Lvovsky) keeps harping on the issue. If Ivan had cast himself as an actor, he might be more understanding; and in the movie, he takes acting lessons to gain more sympathy for Charlotte's career. His success auditioning as a flower bursting into bloom leads him into a little affair with a young aspiring actress – but the affair doesn't bloom; it just leads to a misunderstanding with Charlotte.

The base line feeling the movie deals with -- annoyance at having a famous movie star wife -- comes though strongest in the early scenes when Charlotte and Yvan are going around Paris and she's constantly being asked for her autograph -- and he's not. It isn't good for his ego that while he can't reserve a table before midnight at a restaurant, if she comes on the phone there's one ready at nine.

The jealousy Yvan feels about Charlotte's playing nude love scenes is a concern that goes deeper, but this is developed indirectly, by having Charlotte get bothered by the idea herself after talking to Yvan, then making a fuss about it at Pinewood Studios in England, leading to a colorful scene. While the London film is being shot, Yvan keeps going back and forth on the train to visit her. This is where his `sports writer' role evaporates. He exists only as a jealous husband. Eventually he has an encounter with his wife's British costar, an older actor with sex appeal -- "John" – Terrence Stamp. Perhaps there is nothing more in danger of seeming inauthentic, or more difficult to make interesting, than essentially playing yourself, as Gainsbourg and Stamp, and to a lesser extent Attal, are doing here.

I remembered Charlotte Gainsbourg as a spoiled, pouting creature, and was afraid I wouldn't want to see her as herself. In fact she's charming, light as air, always conveying the impression of the smooth professional, and it's fascinating to watch somebody who can act as fluently in English as she can in French. It's an extra attraction to see Terence Stamp playing an aging English actor. But he's so laid back about his courtship of Charlotte that all the energy goes out of the scenes he's in.

Nathalie, the ultra-Jewish sister, becomes the movie's biggest annoyance. She seems to be present to make us aware of the fact that Yvan's Jewish (Attal was born in Tel Aviv), a fact that has nothing to do with his character. Nathalie has a `goy' husband and she's pregnant. They are constantly arguing about whether the husband should get circumcised and the baby, if a boy, should be. A tired enough issue, made more so by its constant repetition. This running unfunny joke is made even less funny by the fact that Nathalie, the pregnant woman, always has a cigarette in her hand or in her mouth, and continues to smoke like a chimney even with the newborn baby in the room. Another annoyance of this movie is that it contains some homophobic and anti-Arab remarks, and they're not ironic, they're just there.

The tousled haired Yvan is appealing enough to arouse sympathy for his plight – at first. His character has only one note, sung over and over. The movie lasts only 95 minutes, but seems about 35 minutes too long.

`My Wife Is an Actress' begins well and deserves credit for approaching its topic head-on, without any dodges other than Yvan's becoming a `sports writer' rather than a less famous actor. The problem is attacked persistently, but there's no solution found. One ends with the feeling that this was a kind of therapy for Yvan Attal. He does get pretty close to his subject. Perhaps he was too close to it already. If he'd gotten any closer, things might have gotten nasty.
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A cute little French film
smatysia15 June 2006
A cute little French film, although about a quarter of the film is in English. At least it seems to be about (relativly) normal people's problems, and not just a bunch of surly beret-ed existentialists whining about the common man. Charlotte Gainsbourg is quite cute, but seems just a bit lacking to cast as a superstar actress. The farcical nude scene shot is quite amusing. Yvan Attal was OK. It's not always easy to critique a film, or an actor's performance when it is in a foreign language. I may be missing a lot of subtle nuances. But then again, I may not. I'd say it's worth checking out for something a bit different, although it's really a bit closer to Hollywood fare than most French films.
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french dial-a-cliche
beat30 April 2002
a big disappointment. though the basic idea is very much a cliche (man is jealous of acting wife), I expected the movie to be poignant and filled with sharp one-liners. but no, the dialogues are utterly vacuous, and yvan as yvan is seriously getting on one's nerves after a while. in the end, charlotte and yvan solve their problems by having a child. now, this says a lot about the movie, i think,
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Smart, Fresh, Fun, Romantic
tvrwarren16 April 2002
Today I had the privilege of viewing "My Wife is an Actress" at a preview for the San Francisco International Film Festival. I highly recommend the French comedy, which I understand is being released by Sony in May.

Without having realized the male lead Atal is also the Writer & Director, it's all the more amazing how one can juggle so many tasks effectively. Likely this is because it is undoubtedly based on his real life, including his real life wife playing his wife (the actress).

I know this type of setup has been done before, but the behind the scenes element of a movie set is very appealing. Atal lets us in on the filming and behind the scenes monotony of film making. Terence Stamp, as the English speaking actor of some note, is a true delight as usual.

In particular, the opening montage and a scene not for the modest should be taken note of for their own appeal.

I believe only the true cynic will be disappointed with the ending, which in today's movies (especially Hollywood films) are lacking in conclusions or resolutions.
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