Embrassez qui vous voudrez (2002) Poster

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Moving film about the complicated ways of love
meitschi22 June 2003
A moving, sometimes hilarious film about a group of characters who go on vacation together just to be confronted with each other and their own lies toward the others and themselves. A family that has lost both their baby daughter and all their money keep pretending towards their rich friends that they still live well; a middle-aged couple separate for the first time for vacation and both make new and surprising emotional experiences; a notoriously jealous husband turns his pretty wife's life into hell; a young mother searches desperately for a new man in her life and finds a dashingly handsome, but very suspicious guy; a young employee goes to America with his boss' daughter whom he loves, only to see himself ruthlessly let down by her.

The week on vacation changes the lives of the characters in one way or the other: friendships and love blossom; other relationships end; everyone makes important personal experiences.

No-one of the characters is entirely dislikeable (maybe the bitchy, sex-crazed daughter is the most), but they keep hurting each other in spite that many of the characters care a lot about the others, notably Charlotte Rampling's Elizabeth.

A film about the complicated and intriguing ways of love, friendship and caring that makes one think a lot. Wonderfully played by an excellent cast, sensitively written by also-director and star Michel Blanc (he plays the most grotesque character, the jealous husband).
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8/10
Wonderful web of repressed characters.
pippa_bennett29 August 2004
It was Francois Ozon's 'Swimming Pool' that really made me sit up and take note of Charlotte Rampling's suitability to french cinema. Her stern facade yet the notion she is longing for sexual freedom suits it to a 't'.

After 'Swimming Pool' I made a conscious search for Rampling's other forays into french cinema, and this is one of the surprisingly many i came up with.

'Summer Things' seemed to me a bit like a multiple brief encounter. It follows a family riddled with dissatisfaction and their friends over the course of a summer. The daughter off for a 'naughty summer'in Chicago with the boyfriend her parents don't know about, the mother off with her friends all of whom have terrible family problems themselves, and the father who spends the summer liberated from the wife he is confused by, in the arms of his transsexual lover.

The characters are all linked in such deliciously complex ways - one of the biggest links being how much they need this change, this summer to not make them change their lives as what is expected of films of this nature, but in fact to learn how to enjoy the lives they already have - this idea was so refreshing, and like 'brief encounter' what made it so real. there weren't any epiphanies, just character developments, life lessons and realisations of the fact that the grass is never as green as we hope it might be.

Watch it! :)
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8/10
so british, so french, so human !!!!
sadlou5 January 2004
this is not typically french as i've read in some other comments. the film is based on a british book ....

it's a very acid and cynic satire of how some people's lives are laced with lies ...

it has this kind of witty bitter humour that will make it a very enjoyable movie, and i'm going to buy the book to see if there are any notable differences..

thank you for your attention !
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8/10
Bruising but enjoyable
Bob Taylor19 May 2009
Let's face it: the people in this film of vacationing Frenchmen are often unpleasant, sometimes downright loathsome. And yet, I had a good time watching, owing to Michel Blanc's skill at keeping all the balls in the air. I don't know how many speaking parts there are, maybe 20, but the energy never flags because of the marvelous actors. Karin Viard is my favorite actress for comedy; here she is wonderful as the frustrated wife of Podalydès trying to scrimp through a holiday that their finances really don't allow. The scene of Podalydès standing on the cliff, with Rampling quietly trying to buck him up, Ulliel crouched below, his tryst with Mélanie Laurent interrupted, and Viard gabbing away unwittingly with her friends until her husband jumps is a comic masterpiece.

Carole Bouquet is another favorite of mine, since she stole Bunuel's last picture Cet obscur objet du désir over 30 years ago. She too is great in comedy--here she is saddled with the most jealous husband in recent film memory (go back to François Cluzet's harassing of Emmanuelle Béart in L'enfer). Blanc keeps yelling at her, accusing her of infidelities, and she grimly makes the best of it, helped by her new-found friends Rampling and Viard. As I said at the outset, sometimes the characters do unpleasant things, but you don't get the feeling that the deck is stacked against them.
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10/10
one of the best
chuen1 July 2003
subtle, refined, typically french, investigating human relations in a more complex manner, but all with a smile on your face (a smile ?, no, sorry, A BIG LAUGH !).

LAUGHING and LAUGHING and LAUGHING !!!

VERY ORIGINAL (again - typically french)

If you like french movies you MUST see it. If not ... run away.
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4/10
Disappointing French Farce
robertconnor10 June 2005
A gaggle of unpleasant city dwellers descend on Le Touquet for a week's holiday. Stories intertwine, characters fight, make friends, deceive each other, have sex...

Blanc has gathered together a stellar cast for his adaptation of Connolly's book, but to little avail. What should be hilarious is instead at turns tedious and irritating. All the characters are either pathetic or unpleasant or both, and in the end, despite the farcical nature of things, this viewer was left caring little about what happens to any of them.

Credit to the always wonderful Rampling, plus Bouquet and Viard but that's it. And Dutronc looks like he's rather overdone the nips and tucks, if you ask me...
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7/10
Reflections and refraction
The Movie Man22 May 2005
Carry on Conking!

Summer things of course is a naughty metaphor for what people get up to on their annual holidays; in France it's a sport so it seems as just about every sexual mix and coupling is explored in this enjoyable and 'Carry On' style French farce, although they have neatly exchanged the nudity for suggestion.

A thought

One in four couples apparently spilt up on Valentines Day ever year and it's a similar ratio for first time young lovers on their summer vacation because the pressure to perform romantically is often the final straw of not living up to those passionate expectations.

It's the turn of five French couples, interconnected by three Parisian families, escaping the traditional august exodus from the capital, to see how their relationships fair on their annual summer holiday. Right from the opening snazzy credits and quirky French pop tune you know this is not going to be a predictable and serious French relationship, mood drama, but something much more fun and frivolous with a premier French cast to boot.

The story

Affluent middle aged couple, Bernard (Jacques Dutronc) and Marianna (Charlotte Rampling) have booked a week in the exclusive Westminster hotel on the South of France for their escape from the bustle of tourist riddled Paris. Bernard's star employee at the family estate agency is Kevin (Sammy Bouajilla) who is secretly screwing the bosses bitchy, unlikeable, but sexy tear away daughter in Emily (Lula Dubois) with the two furtively meeting up together on Emily's Chicago break.

At the last minute Bernard decides not to go away with his wife under the excuse of urgent business at home as the couples meet to decide the travel plans. Best friends to Bernard and Marianna are Jerome (Denis Podayudos) and Vera Salois (Kerina Viard) who are also coming to the same resort.

Vera is a bit of a jealous snob and has made her husband book a week at the Westminster, way above her embattled husbands salary and current career prospects. He has had to sell the family car to pay for it and hasn't done what his wife has asked him and instead has seriously compromised their social standing as the couple and their cute young son Loic (Gerrald Ullier) pull up at a caravan park in a battered replacement jalopy.

On arrival at the resort we meet the third couple in the obsessive hair dresser in Jean Pier and his beautiful lawyer wife in Julie (Claudette Cloran).He cant bare being apart from her and suspicious of every man that even talks to Julie, with hotel romeo in Romaine (Mathieu Bodynae) being this weeks number one suspect. Completing the line up is attractive single mom, Lulu (Carla Banquet), the niece of the Salois family who off-loads her baby on the gleeful Vera who is quickly tiring of caravan life. In return for looking after the kid for the week, Loic goes to stay with the ever calculating Marianna for his coming of age experience with Lulu free to explore the remaining male population.

For Bernard, the cats away and the mice will play, be it with his hermaphrodite home help or the younger woman close to them that we assume Marianna doesn't know about. At the hotel its bed hoping galore with Lothario Romaine filling the vacuum and vacant holes, providing the gumption for the frolics and the momentum to the complex relationships as we slowly discover the skeletons in the closet that hold this fragile group of promiscuous friends and family together.

The quote;Jean Piere:"It's not easy living with a nymph"

Jerome;"You should try living with the opposite".

The thinking on it...

It's a refreshing change to see a French film on the subjects of love and romance not taking themselves too seriously for once. This is positively swimming with joi de vive and jealousy with the superb super tolerant and soothe saying Charlotte Rampling and her immaculate French at the heart of it.

It a story about those scheming women that leach of men and eventually bring them down when their accrued social status is threatened; better not to expose your husbands affair until you are guaranteed the house and the car. This can usually be identified when the husband's hairline has receded more than his salary.

This is excellent stuff as the subtitles for once dissolve into an insignificant distraction for once as we are enveloped into the frolics and comedy with some cracking writing in this brisk and talky 90 minutes. OK there's some dodgy dubbing and sizable chunks of continuity missing that appear in the deleted scenes but on the whole this is quality stuff and you stay with the flow. Its also the first DVD I've had where you can rewind and still see the subtitles so you know where to stop when you missed a bit.

Additionals

There's a directors making off with a different slant on it as he gives you a video diary on his experiences on set and with the actors(very French).Some trailers and film biographies complete the minimal extras to an enjoyable foreign film DVD.
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6/10
The French make mistakes
Eyal Allweil28 June 2003
Those of us who like French cinema do so because, more often than not, the French display subtlety and skill in creating all sorts of different kinds of movies- light and heavy, political and whimsical. This is not one of them. In fact, other than the rampant, unapologetic sexuality, this could have been an American movie, and though I do like American movies, this is not meant as a complement. If you want a better French movie of this genre, try "The Taste of Others" or "Same Old Song"
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6/10
Nice little French comedy
Chris_Docker29 June 2003
This is one of those superficial little French comedies that finesses its way through numerous sexual liaisons and adulteries with the tolerance only the French seem to have for such things. It's actually quite amusing in an if-I-didn't-have-to-break-a-leg-to-see-it kind of way and going to see an inoffensive film with subtitles makes you look sophisticated (though this may be reduced if you see it in a popcorn munching multiplex).
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Annoying French comedy
pete369 October 2004
Zillionth French "tranches de vie" comedy gets a bit upgraded through actresses Carole Bouquet and Charlotte Rampling, the only 2 likable characters in the whole flick. The rest of the cast is so obnoxious, self-centered and arrogant you dislike 'em the second they appear on the screen. Especially the oversexed 17-year old daughter, although very pretty, is as they say in French "une emmerdeuse de prémière classe" ( a first-rate pain in......).

It may fast-paced and funny in an art-house kindaway but it remains supremely annoying.

For some good recent French comedies opt instead of course for 'Amélie', or something with actor Benoit Poelvoorde (Le vélo, Dead weight,Podium)or 'Mission Cleopatre' based on the highly popular french comic books "Asterix".

'
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8/10
Relaxing
Insp. Clouzot18 October 2002
As with "Grosse Fatigue" the pair Michel Blanc / Carole Bouquet is at the center of the film. Lots of laughs. Subtle. Interesting characters even if sometimes it could be more subtle (eg : Michel Blanc's character is really extreme).

Pour passer une bonne soiree.
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6/10
Drawing A Blanc
writers_reign3 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Michel Blance, arguably best known outside France for his eponymous Monsiour Hire does an Agnes Jaoui here and takes a principal role as well as directing. It doesn't pretend to be anything but light escapist fare and as such it's reasonably successful. For some reason directors keep on casting that non-actress par excellence Charlotte Rampling who's ruined as many GOOD films as Peter Greenaway has made BAD ones - in each case every one they've made - and once again she lets the side down whilst in a wonderful touch of irony she shares a 'moment' with that other total loss Gaspard Ulliel (it was a nice if slightly bizarre touch that the Cesars awarded him a Best Newcomer gong last Saturday for A Very Long Engagement, despite his having been in this and Les Egares). Elsewhere there are some REAL talents on display not least Carole Bouquet, Karin Viard and Denis Podalydes. It's all done and dusted inside a week centered on a joint vacation in Le Touquet and Blanc keeps an extended family on its toes not to say mattresses. If you've got 90 minutes or so between planes and a portable DVD player this is as good as any to beguile the wait.
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Pretty typical French farce
lazarillo7 September 2013
This is a pretty typical French farce. As is in seemingly all French movies, most of the characters are on vacation at a beach resort (although one actually stays back at home working!). There are three middle age couples and their assorted children/step-children. Two of the women (Charlotte Rampling and Karen Viard) are long-time friends and they meet a third woman (carole Bouquet) with a VERY jealous husband at the resort. Viard and her husband have a new baby and financial troubles. There's a young woman (Clotilde Coreau) and a teenage boy, who are somebody's children (this movie has no English subs and my French leaves a lot to be desired). Another daughter (Lou Doillon) has gone on a separate vacation to Chicago with her father's hapless employee and she proves to be WAY more than he can handle. One of the married couples each have casual, breezy affairs. There's also the usual French May-December sexual encounter, but with gender roles reversed (older woman-younger man) and a transsexual.

I didn't really recognize most of the male cast, but the female cast here is quite impressive. Charlotte Rampling is a Brit actress, but since collaborating with Francois Ozon on a couple films, she has worked mostly in France the past decade or so. Carole Bouquet is a former Bond girl ("For Your Eyes Only") and ex-wife of Gerard Depardieu. She's had a long career in French film going all the way back to Luis Bunuel's last film, "That Obscure Object of Desire". Lou Doillon is the French daughter of another transplanted Brit actress, minor 60's sex symbol Jane Birkin, which would also make her the half-sister of Charlotte Gainsbourg. She is not as talented as her sibling, but she might be even more sexy, and she has pretty much all the erotic scenes here (of which there are surprisingly few for a French movie). Clotilde Coreau, on the other hand, might be most famous (well, with me anyway)for her hot and gratuitous lesbian scene in the bizarre French slasher film "Deep in the Woods", but most of her other French roles have been much more sedate and mainstream like the one here.

Of course, I would need to see this with English subs to fully appreciate it, but even in French it is pretty energetic and fun. If you generally like these French/continental bedroom farces, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one.
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7/10
Midlife crisis can be so funny
Henry Fields17 May 2008
"Embrassez" has traces of Woody Allen and some others from the old same soft comedy, it will sure satisfy those who are looking for a movie that make them smile. That's the purpose of Michael Blanc and I think he achieved his objective.

Rich and mature people that do not know what to do with their lives, sick of everything and of everyone. Jelaousy, infidelity, intrigue and a thousand misunderstandings. If you got all those ingredients, then nothing can possibly go wrong. If also you got actors such as Dutronc, Rampling or Bouquet... well, mission accomplished!!

*My rate: 7/10
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5/10
pretentious is another word that comes to mind
christopher-underwood28 February 2007
This started fairly well and looked like it would be very amusing and for some I know it is. For me though, the characters begin to get rather irritating and by the end really annoying. It seems incomprehensible that any of them would carry on the way they do. 'Carry On', is just about the right expression, too. Director Blanc, who plays the excruciating fat man who thinks his middle aged wife is off with everybody, waffles away in the accompanying 'featurette', seemingly unaware that he has produced something akin to the infamous English series and thinks he's Eisenstein instead. Yes, pretentious is another word that comes to mind, and even if this is based upon an English book and has some elements of the worst of this country's yob/snobby business it is in the end a very French movie. We may overrate our silly soap operas but only the French would consider them 'significant'.
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