Marie-Jo is a middleaged woman living an ordinary life in Marseilles with her husband, Daniel and her daughter, Julie. Daniel runs a small construction business in which Marie-Jo helps. She also works at the local hospital. Outwardly their marriage is loving. But Marie-Jo has been in love with another man for more than twelve months.Marco works as a harbour pilot and is deeply in love with Marie-Jo. Learning that loving two men is impossible, Marie-Jo is forced to make a choice.Written by
Chosen by "Telerama" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2002 (#07) See more »
If Marie-Jo doesn't quite have it all she has a reasonable facsimile; happily married in her mid forties, still having great and regular six with her self-employed builder husband, for whom she does the accounts and who is as devoted to her as she is to him. A non-demanding job on the side ferrying patients to and from hospital appointments, a nice, well-appointed house, a gifted and bright daughter studying Law and herself in a stable and loving relationship. What more could she want? Well, nothing ... on paper. So why, given all these assets, can't she stop, after a 12 month clandestine affair, seeing Marco, a harbor pilot, who she loves as deeply as she does Daniel, her husband, and with whom she has equally great and equally regular sex. Welcome to the Marseilles of Marseilles-born Robert Guediguian, where nothing happens ... all at once. This guy has created and developed his own repertory company and, like that other great regional specialist Marcel Pagnol, returns again and again to his roots but not to flaunt the tourist side of Marseilles (as filmmakers are wont to do with Paris), merely to show the soft underbelly. His real-life partner Ariane Ascaride has never been more beguiling than she is here and the movie is punctuated by Ascaride smiles that light up the screen and, for the time you are watching, rival those of Hepburn (BOTH Hepburns actually) and Audrey (Amalie) Tatou. Once again she is more than ably supported by Guediguian stalwarts Jean-Pierre Darroussin (who may have it written into his contract that he gets to dance every time he goes to bat - catch him in 'Un air de famille' and you'll see what I mean) as Daniel and Gerard Meylan (the Marius of 'Marius et Jeanette') as Marco the pilot. Mid-life crises are not new, neither are mid-life affairs, but whereas the couple in 'Brief Encounter' were terribly well-behaved and kept a stiff-upper lip whilst enduring the torment of middle-aged longing, the French menage a trois here let it all hang out. The problem is that given the way Guediguian has elected to go with this story there's no real way to resolve it without upsetting some element of the audience.Brushing that aside this is a great movie, by turns lyrical, happy and heartbreaking. The three leads are outstanding but Neil Simon it isn't. Rating : Four and one half stars going away.
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