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A first-rate movie, but it will mean much less if you don't know Molière's play
This is a first-rate movie. I've seen it four or five times by now - I am using it in a class - and each time I watch it, I marvel anew at the talent of the two lead actors, two stars of today's French cinema, Lambert Wilson and Fabrice Lucchini, and the quality of the script.
One could summarize it by saying that it is the story of two actors who rehearse for a touring production of Molière's masterpiece, The Misanthrope. One, Serge, played by Lucchini, has become bitter in his lonely retirement. The other, Gauthier, is a financial and romantic success, but wants to accomplish something worthy of his artistic merits as well. In the course of rehearsing the play, both find that the words Molière gave to his misanthropic protagonist, Alceste, allow them to express their own growing hatred of the world around them.
If you don't know the play, I don't know how much of an effect this movie will make. Since the play is one of the classics of French theater, the director and producer could assume that many in their French audience would remember the play from their school days, the way at least some Americans are able to remember something about Hamlet from high school, and so understand what the two male leads are doing. If, because you don't know Molière's play, you can't do that, I don't know what you will get out of this very fine film.
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