7.2/10
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La tête en friche (2010)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 16 September 2011 (USA)
A semi-literate and lonely odd-job man bonds with a much older and well-read woman.

Director:

Jean Becker

Writers:

Jean Becker (screenplay), Jean-Loup Dabadie (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gérard Depardieu ... Germain Chazes
Gisèle Casadesus ... Margueritte Vandeveld
Maurane ... Francine
Sophie Guillemin ... Annette
Patrick Bouchitey ... Landremont - le garagiste
Jean-François Stévenin Jean-François Stévenin ... Jojo dit The Cook
Claire Maurier Claire Maurier ... Jacqueline Chazes - La mère de Germain
Anne Le Guernec Anne Le Guernec ... Jacqueline Chazes jeune
Bruno Ricci ... Marco
Lyès Salem ... Youssef - le serveur
Matthieu Dahan Matthieu Dahan ... Julien
François-Xavier Demaison ... Jean-Michel Gardini dit Jean-Mi
Régis Laspalès ... Monsieur Bayle - L'instituteur
Serge Larivière ... Le neveu de Margueritte
Jérôme Deschamps Jérôme Deschamps ... Le maire
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Storyline

A semi-literate and lonely odd-job man bonds with a much older and well-read woman.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | Flemish

Release Date:

16 September 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mis tardes con Margueritte See more »

Filming Locations:

Pons, Charente-Maritime, France

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

French visa # 123205. See more »

Goofs

While Germain studies his dictionary, his cat lying on the table changes position instantly between several shots. See more »

Quotes

Germain Chazes: It's not a typical love affair, but love and tenderness, both are there. Named after a daisy, she lived amongst words, surrounded by adjectives in green fields of verbs. Some force you yield to. But she, with soft art, passed through my hard shield and into my heart. Not always are love stories just made of love. Sometimes love is not named but it's love just the same. This is not a typical love affair I met her on a bench in my local square. She made a little stir, tiny like a bird with her ...
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Soundtracks

La chanson de Germain
Written by Jean-Loup Dabadie and Laurent Voulzy
Performed by Gérard Depardieu
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User Reviews

You may want to stay with her forever.
16 October 2011 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

A film like Jean Becker's My Afternoons with Margueritte spoils me with a lyricism found not just in a small French provincial town filled with eccentric, lovable characters but also in sentiment propelled by exquisite words found in Camus and Romain Gary. And an odd couple who find love that is sometimes not named.

In perhaps a nod to Harold and Maude, Germain (Gerard Depardieu), a 50 year old non reader, meets in the park with 90 year old Margueritte (Gisele Casadesus), who initially reads to him from Camus' The Plague. As she awakens his interest in reading, his life changes, not the least of which is finding a loving mother figure for the abusive real one. Or maybe discovering Leonard Cohen's Suzanne.

So much more is layered in this romantic story: a Cheers-like café where love and disrespect, the two poles of sentiment in the film, play out in a way that exalts the affection even in the hardest of relationships; a traditional love affair for Germain with the younger Francine (Maurane) that may turn around the story's primary January-May motif but parallels it in the deeply loving relationship that seeks to perpetuate itself.

So much of My Afternoons is about renewal and rebirth, and so little is about death that the formula for too old to be young no longer applies. Nor does my expectation to be grossed out by Depardieu's enormous girth, a sad counterpoint to his dashing younger days. But wait, his weight is perfect for the role, his lines read with such understated beauty as to shout, "Where have you been, Gerard?" The bear-like man revealing a daisy-like affect is poetically perfect for the story.

If you expect the film to follow a formula, you will be correct, except maybe for the ending which confirms the motif of unnamed love conquering all. Actually, the film makes you cry for more of the odd-couple romantic formula.

As for the transforming power of books, Abe Lincoln had a witty take on the subject: "The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read." Change that to "woman" and you have My Afternoons with Margueritte.


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