Liberté égalité fraternité off-key
Classic Elsternwick - Saturday 16 April 2016, 12:15pm
Running time: 129m
Classification: M (Mature themes, a sex scene, coarse language, nudity and drug use)
Release date: 21/04/16
Rating: 7.5/10 (ME 3.5/5, DP 4/5)
Marguerite Dumont (Catherine Frot) is a passionate and wealthy opera singer, delighting the audience at her music club with her unique vocal renditions. Following a favourable review by Lucien Beaumont (Sylvain Dieuaide), Marguerite is invited to perform with absurdist artist Kyril (Aubert Fenoy) to the dismay of her long-suffering husband Georges (André Marcon). She then dreams of putting on a real show in a concert hall. The only problem is that Marguerite doesn’t know that she can’t sing. Will her new singing teacher (Michael Fau) be able to save the show?
Marguerite is a French film loosely based on the story of eccentric singer Florence Foster Jenkins. Exquisitely filmed, the 1920s production design is lush and layered with great attention to detail with its visual styling. The plot is fun and there are a few laugh-out-loud moments throughout, but there is also a darkness to Marguerite’s delusions. The performances are great with Catherine Frot bringing the perfect blend of eccentricity and fragility to such a complex character. Denis Mpunga as her faithful servant (and personal photographer) Madelbos manages to add more complexity in a performance that is restrained and intense.
A delightful film, Marguerite takes a few unexpected twists and turns before ending up at a satisfying conclusion. It takes a little too long to get there and we’re not sure it needed all of its 129 minutes to tell its story, but it’s an enjoyable ride. (ME)
NOTE: Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant star in the upcoming film Florence Foster Jenkins, so it will be interesting to compare the two.