1809, France. Captain Neuville is called to the front, leaving his future bride heartbroken. Her sister decides to write letters on his behalf to cheer her up. But it all goes south when Neuville reappears.
Pierre is marrying Héléna and he wants his wedding party to be first rate. For that he has reserved the services of Max Angély, a seasoned caterer, and his team. The reception is to take place in a sumptuous 17th century leisure castle and its beautiful park and the music to be supplied by an excellent DJ. The rich arrogant bridegroom demands that everything go according to plan. Max assures him that will be the case but what he fails to tell him is that his team is not absolutely above reproach. For instance, Etienne (as James), a second-rate entertainer, has replaced the top-level DJ; Adèle, Max's short-tempered assistant, keeps causing embroilment ; Guy, the wedding photographer is a free-loading has been; Josiane, Max's close collaborator and also lover, is on the verge of breaking up with him; Julien, a depressive ex-teacher turned waiter, once had a date with - the bride; Samy, an additional waiter, proves quite worthless. But Max, whose motto is "Always adapt!" is the ...Written by
Directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano had already come up with a masterpiece in 2011: LES INTOUCHABLES, brimming with joie de vivre despite the physical and social limitations of the two main characters, brilliantly played by François Cluzet and Omar Sy.
That same zest for life is present in LE SENS DE LA FÊTE, and certainly the acting is of the highest order once again. Were this an American film, and Jean-Pierre Bacri would certainly have received an Oscar nomination. His control over his party function team, his business sense, his perceptiveness of his troop members' moods, and even his occasionally deadpan moments render his performance sublime, possibly the most complete, subtle, and perceptive I watched in 2017.
There are many other performers in this film but that never detracts from the film's focus and all of them do an excellent job of raising this film to the highest levels of comedy, including two Indians from the Punjab who have some of the peachiest small parts I have watched in the recent past.
From the above, it is easy to conclude that dialogue is sharp and funny, as characters find themselves in all manner of laughable, embarrassing, sexy, unprofessional, and other situations. Perhaps the screenplay's greatest merit is that it keeps subtly misleading the viewer into believing that the outcome of a given sequence will be this or that - to be sure, you never get the pat solution!
Photography is excellent, especially the night shots and the sequence involving a balloon in flight. Soundtrack is very appropriate, never interfering, but always helping to give substance to the film.
Finally - please forgive me if I repeat my introduction - what a great job of directing!
This is one of the best, subtlest and most sublime comedies I have ever had the privilege to watch. I was really sorry to see the credits roll up at the end. and that's not what I feel about many movies these days.
Masterpiece - 10/10
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