L’Embarras du Choix – Eric Lavaine

Director Eric Lavaine’s L’Embarras du Choix is a formulaic romantic comedy more at home on the small screen than deserving of the full cinema treatment.  It follows the box-office success of Lavaine’s last stint in the director’s chair, Retour Chez Ma Mere, and redrafts the same lead actress Alexandre Lamy.  L’Embarras du Choix sits neatly…

Chacun Sa Vie – Claude Lelouche

Veteran director Claude Lelouche turns 80 in October and has struggled in recent years to find the form which earned him an Oscar for A Man and a Woman in 1967.  His last film, Un + Une, a quirky romantic comedy set in India with Jean Dujardin and Elza Zylberstein in the lead roles, saw a partial…

Rock’n Roll – Guillaume Canet

Guillaume Canet’s Rock’n’ Roll is a fine example of a genre of film not often seen from French directors. In addition, this self-parodying film comes from an actor/director not well-known for his pure comic talent.  Canet is more often seen in taut thrillers like La Prochaine Fois Je Viserai le Coeur or L’Homme qu’on Aimait…

Raid dingue (RAID: Special unit) – Dany Boon

It’s a testament to the popularity of Dany Boon that a run-of the-mill comedy like RAID Dingue can pull in over a million spectators in less than a week. Boon has been a sure-fire hit at the box office since the huge success of Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis (Welcome to the Sticks) in 2008. And…

Dalida – Lisa Azuelos

Lisa Azuelos’s film of one of France’s most popular singers skims over the surface of the life of the Egyptian/Italian artist to hone in on her disastrous relationships with men interspersed with a race through some of her most memorable hits. For a singer who sold over 80 million records worldwide, this is no mean feat.  But it’s doubtful if…

Un Sac de Billes (A Bag of Marbles) – Christian Duguay

Christian Duguay’s Un Sac de Billes is the second time the best-selling autobiographical novel has been brought to the big screen coming over forty years after Jacques Doillon’s own adaptation of the book by Joseph Jollo.  On the positive side, Duguay’s film is beautifully shot and boasts fine performances from its two main actors aged just 17 and 12-years-old.…

Elle – Paul Verhoeven

Paul Verhoeven’s Elle is not an easy film to like.  A black comedy/thriller based around a brutal rape and the female victim’s eventual revenge is bound to be contoversial.  And it’s debatable whether many other actresses apart from Isabelle Huppert could pull off such a delicate balancing act.  Aside from the plot, Verhoeven casts an almost…

La Mechanique de l’Ombre (Scribe) –  Thomas Kruithof

Not even a fine performance from François Cluzet as a reformed alcoholic who is haplessly drawn into a web of political intrigue can rescue Thomas Kruithof’s first full-length feature.  Billed as a thriller, La Mechanique de l’Ombre gets off to a promising start as Duval (Cluzet)  loses his job and marriage to executive burn out and is forced to accept…

Demain Tout Commence – Hugo Gélin

Director Hugo Gélin’s latest comedy is a sugar-coated tale of a dyed-in-the-wool bachelor whose life changes dramatically when he is literally left holding the baby.  It initially smacks of Coline Serreau’s 3 Hommes et Un Couffin  (Three Men and a Baby) as  Samuel  (Omar Sy) struggles to adapt to fatherhood, with its many demands and sacrifices.…

La Fille de Brest – Emmanuelle Bercot 

In her continuing crusade against social injustice, director Emmanuelle Bercot takes on the pharmaceutical industry in La Fille de Brest, the true story of one female doctor’s fight to withdraw a harmful drug from the French market. The Mediator scandal grabbed headlines in France almost ten years ago and La Fille de Brest bravely attempts…