My Afternoons With Margueritte [La Tete en Friche]

"Extraordinary"

My Afternoons With Margueritte [La Tete en Friche] Review


Small but perfectly formed, this unassuming French comedy is smart, emotionally engaging and often very funny. Essentially a coming-of-age story about a seemingly dopey middle-aged man, it's also a real charmer.For his whole life, Germain (Depardieu) has been told by his drama-queen mother (Maurier) that he's an idiot. So he has lived up to her expectations. But neighbours in his village loves his kind but bumbling ways. He spends each day at a cafe owned by his friend Francine (Maurane), getting involved in everyone's business. His bus-driver girlfriend (Guillemin) sees his better qualities, and so does Margueritte (Casadesus), a 95-year-old he meets in the park who, while reading books with him, quietly helps him see who he really is.The filmmakers occasionally give us flickers of Germain's past, with his dismissive young mother (Le Guernec) only very rarely showing any concern for his well-being. These scenes subtly fill in his back-story as we watch this fully grown (perhaps even overgrown) man explore his own intellect in a way he never thought possible. And the most interesting thing is that he doesn't seem to realise he's learning anything; he's just enjoying the rush of curiosity.Depardieu's acting is so offhanded that it seems like he isn't acting at all.

Then we remember that he has also recently played vicious, mercurial gangsters.

On the other hand, this is a beautiful depiction of a simple man who is beginning to understand his own complexities as well as some deep truths about those around him. Without ever being flashy, it's an impeccably pure performance. And the supporting cast members interact with him using raw humour and lively energy.

In many ways the film feels like a refreshing slap in the face, jolting us out of the hypnosis induced by bland Hollywood movies. The film simply feels alive to the possibilities around it, unafraid to be cute or heartbreakingly sweet but never becoming remotely sentimental. Filmmaker Becker clearly knows that life is made up of moments that are hilarious and earthy and sometimes painful.

And that sometimes it's the difficult things that teach us the most.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Jean Becker

Producer: Louis Becker

Starring: as Germain, Maurane as Francine, Gisèle Casadesus as Margueritte, Jean-François Stévenin as Jojo, Patrick Bouchitey as Landremont, François-Xavier Demaison as Gardini, as La mère, as Annette, Anne Le Guernec as La mère jeune, Mélanie Bernier as Stéphanie, Régis Laspalès as Monsieur Bayle, Jérôme Deschamps as Le maire, Matthieu Dahan as Julien, Bruno Ricci as Marco, Lyes Salem as Youssef, Jean-Luc Porraz as Le notaire, Gilles Detroit as Dévallée, Florian Yven as Germain enfant

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.