Posts Tagged ‘Gerard Depardieu’

Juliette Binoche


94 minutes | No MPAA rating

Movies about privileged people who can’t stop moaning about their boring, unfulfilled lives generally give me a throbbing keister ache.

Claire Denis’ “Let the Sunshine In” is the exception, a profile of unhappiness delivered with such care, insight and actorly magnificence that you can forgive the self-absorption exhibited by most of the characters.

We stick with the ironically titled “…Sunshine…” because it’s an almost perfect vehicle for Juliette Binoche, one of France’s greatest actresses, here at the peak of her powers.

A confession: I’ve always admired Binoche’s thespian skills, but have long been perplexed by her status as a great beauty.  I  never saw it…until now. The older Binoche gets, the sexier she becomes. Go figure.

Here she plays Isabelle, a middle-aged artist (abstract expressionism, naturally) who in the wake of a divorce has been cast upon emotional and sexual shoals. Denis’ screenplay (written with Christine Angot) follows Isabelle’s ever-rebounding relationships with a half dozen men, none of whom seem capable of providing what she wants.

Of course, Isabelle may not know what she wants. There’s more than a little neurotic neediness in Binoche’s performance…after a while you may come to the conclusion her unmistakeable neediness is a big part of the problem. (Even her clothing sends weird messages…she’s big on mini-skirts, go-go boots and plunging necklines that have a hookerish feel.)

As the film starts she’s breaking off her affair with Vincent (Xavier Beauvoir), a burly banker who bitches about his dull world of commerce and finds her artistic endeavors quite erotic. “You charm the pants off me,” he says, though it’s likely he’d lose the trousers whether Isabelle  was charming or not. Problem is, Vincent can’t help exhibiting the alpha-male assholery that is key to his profession.


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Gerarde Depardieu and Gisele Casadesus

“MY AFTERNOONS WITH MARGUERITTE” My rating: B- (Opening Oct. 21 at the Rio and Glenwood at Red Bridge)

82 minutes | No MPAA rating

“My Afternoons with Margueritte” is the sort of enterprise calculated to warm cockles, tug heartstrings and evoke dry retching among cynics.

In this Gallic equivalent of a Hallmark Hall of Fame production, a none-too-bright oaf has a sort of chaste romance with a 96-year-old woman who encourages him to open up his narrowly proscribed world through books.

It’s a shameless manipulative setup that director Jean Becker and cowriter Jean-Loup Dabadie have cooked up, and by all rights it should land with a thud.

That it doesn’t is entirely due to the film’s two stars, Gerard Depardieu (huge in every sense of the word) and Gisele Casadesus (who, incredibly, began her screen career in 1934). This couple could sell space heaters to Amazonian aborigines.


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