From correspondence I've had over the years it seems that there are roughly a dozen people who tend to follow my reviews here and they will know in what high esteem I hold Catherine Frot, not least for her versatility which allows her to move effortlessly from the pathetically ditzy neglected wife in Un Air de famille to the mother from hell in Vipere au poing with virtually any and everything in between. Her first love is the stage - indeed she made her name in the stage version of Un Air of famille, which earned her a Moliere, plus a Cesar when she replicated her role, complete with dog collar, on celluloid - and for three years she has neglected the cinema for the theatre - I myself was lucky enough to see her in the Ingrid Bergman role in Cactus Flower (Fleur de cactus in French) barely a week ago, but now she is back on the screen in what I can only describe as a tour de force; Marguerite is a wealthy socialite in 1920s Paris who has an all consuming love for opera, so much so that she loves nothing better than performing arias for her society friends in salons. The problem, tragedy may not be too strong a word, is that she is totally without vocal talent yet for reasons best known to themselves her friends conspire to keep this knowledge from her and applaud every note and even pen fine reviews. Although the story is fiction - there may be a reason the character is named Marguerite Dumont; the actress Margaret Dumont, was the foil for Grouch Marx in the majority of the Marx Brothers films and was also a wealthy society lady with delusions of grandeur - it is clearly based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins a wealthy American who also harboured the delusion that she was a world-class diva. Catherine Frot is outstanding and it may well be the finest performance she has given in the cinema, which is, of course, saying something. For some reason it appears that Meryl Streep is shooting very much the same story even as I write and this may well keep the Frot film off American - and possibly even UK - screens which would be unforgivable.
Comedy / Drama / Music
Comedy / Drama / Music
It is party day at Marguerite Dumont's castle. She sings wholeheartedly, but terribly out of tune. Marguerite has been living her passion in her own bubble, and the hypocrite audience acts as if she was the diva she believes she is.
June 15, 2020