A scheming servant works for a wealthy couple in France during the late 19th century.A scheming servant works for a wealthy couple in France during the late 19th century.A scheming servant works for a wealthy couple in France during the late 19th century.
Couple of comments: this is not the first time nor the second time that this (in)famous book has been brought to the big screen. In fact, let's just say it right now: both previous versions (1946, directed by film giant Jean Renoir, and 1964, directed by that other film giant Luis Buñuel) are MILES better than this latest adaptation, which is directed by Benoît Jacquot, not a slouch himself (best known perhaps for the excellent "Farewell, My Queen" from a few years ago, also starring Lea Seydoux). The script of this latest version seems incapable to make up its mind whether this is a sex comedy or whether it is a comedy of the classes, so it tries to be a little bit of both and ends up being neither. BEWARE: the role played by Joseph contains a strong and over the top anti-Semitism streak that I thought was shockingly blunt, and could've been handled very differently for the movie's immediate purposes without being so offensive and blatantly racist. As to the acting performances, I am a big fan of Lea Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Colour, and most recently in The Lobster and the latest James Bond, Spectre), but here she seems strangely absent, as if her mind is somewhere else. Vincent Lindon as the gardener tries to make the most of his material. Bottom line: when you take on a well-known novel that's been filmed before, the question of course is: what is the purpose of the remake? I really can't come up with any obvious answer to that, as the 2015 version doesn't seem to cover any new ground or provide any new insight.
"Diary of a Chambermaid" premiered at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival, yes, 18 months ago. Then, out of the blue, the movie opened at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati a week ago. The Thursday early evening screening where I saw this at turned out to be the last day, as the movie was gone the next day. The screening was not attended particularly well, and that didn't surprise me. I wouldn't call this latest adaptation a bad movie per se, although I was appalled at the over the top anti-Semitism in the movie. You may be interested to see this if you've seen the previous adaptations, just for comparison purposes.
- Sep 16, 2016