My Night at Maud's

"OK"

My Night at Maud's Review


Every cineaste knows that Eric Rohmer made a series of films called the "six moral tales," but I'd wager that virtually no one has seen them all. Most knowledge of the tales begins with this, the third film in the series (which was inexplicably filmed fourth), and tragically by then they've already started a prodigiously deep decline into preachy bloviating and repetitiveness.

I realize I should expect a good amount of hate mail for panning a "classic," but here goes anyway. See if you think this sounds like a good way to spend two hours: Devout Catholic Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant) decides that he's going to marry Françoise, a blonde girl he sees at mass but whom he's never actually met. After half an hour of wandering around their small town, he ends up going with his pal Vidal to the home of Maud (Françoise Fabian), a divorcee with a young child who's actually interested in listening to Jean-Louis drone on and on about his moral choices, only for him to throw them to the winds when he decides to jump into bed with Maud, mere minutes after exclaiming he'd never do such a thing.

Eventually, Jean-Louis does meet Françoise and he does marry her, and that's pretty much the end of the film.

Aside from more information on the philosophical tenets of Blaise Pascal, what are we to take from all of this? Our moral hero (as is the case in all six of the "moral tales") is basically dying for a little lovin'. Will he pick one girl or another girl? That is, in a nutshell, the central dilemma in all of these films: How can this dude get lucky and not hate himself in the morning?

When I think of "morality," you might imagine that a filmmaker would paint this story with a brighter and broader brush. Consider Krzysztof Kieslowski's The Decalogue, which took the 10 Commandments as its basis for investigating modern morality, and these films examined the issue from every possible angle. Rohmer is fixated on sex to the point where he had to make six movies about it? I guess "six horny tales" just didn't sound as good. This is not to say that there aren't some poignant and even witty moments in the films, it's just that as they drag on, those moments become fewer and further between.

Surprisingly, Rohmer's first two films, and especially his very first one in the series, are much better than the later entries, though few have ever seen them. You're lucky to get the chance to see them thanks to Criterion, which has put all six films out in one box set. The Girl at the Monceau Bakery is a fascinating look at obsession and transferred affections and clocks in at under half an hour. Suzanne's Career is somewhat less amusing, but still a worthwhile film, as Rohmer hadn't yet started to repeat himself so much.

Also in the set are La Collectionneuse (one of the more interesting entries and Rohmer's first color movie, about the perils of playing "hard to get" and how loathing can sometimes turn to obsession), Claire's Knee,and Love in the Afternoon, which you can also watch if you really want to see the same thing over and over again.. (Though with that said, Afternoon makes for a moderately interesting coda.)

Aka Ma nuit chez Maud.



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: FFD

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jean-Louis, Françoise Fabian as Maud, as Françoise, Antoine Vitez as Vidal, Léonide Kogan as Concert Violinist, Guy Léger as Preacher

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

Advertisement
The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Movie Review

Subtitled Salazar's Revenge in the UK, this fifth film in the long-running series never quite...

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

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.