Two of France’s most iconic actors – Gérard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve – appear on screen for the tenth time in Florence Quentin’s lightweight romantic drama. And both talented actors deserve better than this tepid, confusing film which is clearly suffering from an identity crisis. Part comedy-part fantasy, Bonne Pomme never seems to get going in either direction. Depardieu as Gérard, squeezes maximum effect from a patchy script and remains eminently watchable while Deneuve’s Barbara seems a reprisal of her role as Beatrice in Martin Provost’s Sage Femme. She’s selfish, uncaring, greedy and self-centred. None of which appears to matter to Gérard who obviously sees something in her character which remains hidden to the audience.
The two actors first appeared together in Francois Truffaut’s French classic Le Dernier Metro and it’s be hoped they find something which better reflects their immense talent the next time they appear on the big screen together.
Gérard is a car mechanic who dreams of a quiet life running his own garage in a small village away from his ex-wife and her demanding family. He finds exactly what he is looking for but his quiet life starts to unwind when he becomes friendly with Barbara who runs the hotel across the road from the garage. By trying to help out the eccentric Brabara, he becomes involved in her chaotique, disaster-ridden life.
Depardieu has had something of a revival in recent times. He turned in an excellent performance opposite Isabelle Huppert in Valley of Love and again in Saint Amour. Let’s hope this is a temporairy dip in his cinematic fortunes. Likewise for Deneuve. At their best, both actors are in a category of their own.