Broadcast this Wednesday on OCS Max, French Exit marks the great return of Michel Pfeiffer in a main role where she bursts the screen.
What is it about ?
Frances Price continued to maintain her socialite lifestyle in Manhattan after the death of her husband Franklin twelve years previously. She suddenly finds herself penniless when the bank seizes all her belongings. Frances then accepts the proposal of a friend, who offers her to stay in her Parisian apartment. Her son Malcolm breaks off his engagement to Susan to accompany his mother to the French capital. This sudden decline disrupts Frances’ relationship with others.
French Exit, directed by Azazel Jacobs and written by Patrick deWitt based on his eponymous novel.
Who is it with?
Michelle Pfeiffer, who in recent years had mainly held secondary roles in the cinema, finally returns in a main role with French Exit in which she plays Frances. His son, Malcolm, is played by rising Hollywood star Lucas Hedges (Lady Bird, Ben is Back).
The duo is surrounded by a whole gallery of characters played by Valerie Mahaffey (Young Sheldon), Imogen Poots (Vivarium), Susan Coyne (Cardinal), Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$) and Isaach de Bankolé (Black Panther).
Well worth a look ?
Patrick deWitt, to whom we owe the novel Les Frères Sisters which Jacques Audiard masterfully adapted to the cinema, signs the screenplay for French Exit based on his latest book, published in France by Actes Sud in 2020.
But these two projects have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Where the film released in 2018 took us to the American West alongside two brothers with different aspirations, Azazel Jacobs’ film takes us into the intimacy of a woman ready to die: from her luxurious apartment in New York to a more modest accommodation in Paris (a city shown in a slightly less clichéd way than in certain American productions, even if it is not perfect) via his crossing of the Atlantic by boat.
Without a clear and often absurd narrative thread, French Exit will not please everyone. The feature film is however worth a look for the performance of Michelle Pfeiffer, who was also nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy for her role in 2021.
The actress is perfect as an eccentric and ambiguous socialite who has never worked in her life and who enjoys squandering what remains of her money in the streets of the French capital where she has found refuge with her son. with whom she has an astonishing but nevertheless touching relationship. If not totally endearing, Frances at least has the gift of fascinating.
Around the mother-son duo gravitate many characters who all find themselves living together in the last part of the film, without anyone really knowing why. But some of them are particularly worth the detour, in particular Madame Reynard (Valerie Mahaffey) whose interventions are often very successful and funny.
The subject of death also hovers over the whole film, in a rather offbeat way, notably thanks to the plot around the adorable family cat who hides a little secret, giving rise to a seance of spiritualism where the supernatural in a completely surprising way. Which definitely gives French Exit a whimsical atmosphere that changes from the ordinary.
French Exit is available on OCS.