In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_5tzuowodx4f3ngozwzozwmdy9ze

War Story

Director Mark Jackson’s drama is a chilly study in grief starring Catherine Keener as a war-zone photographer shattered by her experiences in Libya.

Thumb_hercules

Hercules

Dwayne Johnson tries, but he’s surrounded by poor CGI and a terrible adaptation of yet another comic book. Ian McShane steals what little movie there…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Reviews

My Afternoons With Marguerite

My Afternoons With Marguerite Movie Review
  |  

Germain is a handyman in a sloppy flannel shirt and overalls, overweight and hulking. Margueritte is a little (85 pounds) old (95 years) lady. They meet on a park bench, where both know that exactly 14 pigeons hang out there, and both recognize them by sight.

Germain may be a hulk (he's played by Gerard Depardieu, who certainly is). But he is gentle and has a good heart, despite having been treated with cruelty by a mother who still survives to make his life miserable. He lives in a small trailer parked near his childhood home and lovingly tends his garden, where his mother displays sporadic violence against leeks.

Margueritte is played by Gisele Casadesus, now 97, who made her first film in 1934 as a member of Comedie Francaise. She is so slight and fragile she reminds Germain of a glass figure. She once worked for the World Health Organization, now lives in a retirement home with her beloved books.

Germain believes he cannot read. Actually, we discover later, he was taught to read but never taught to have a shred of self-confidence. She begins to read to him — The Plague by Camus — and he is an ideal listener. With her as his catalyst, he makes slow steps toward self-esteem.

This happens in an improbably sweet film that will strike many as too upbeat. Germain is cuddled by his adorable bus-driver girlfriend Annette (Sophie Guillemin), and pals around with his buddies at a local cafe. He suffers through flashbacks to his unhappy childhood, but seems on the whole serene. He loves Annette but he declares himself "in love" with Margueritte.

So are we, a little. She is bright-eyed and high-spirited, and never overplays the heart-tugging. The director, Jean Becker, is the son of the great French noir director Jacques Becker, who was 8 when Gisele Casadesus was born. There's history here. The happy ending lays it on too thick, but what the hell: In for a dime, in for a dollar. Besides, the movie started me re-reading The Plague.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Exploring Israel-Palestine through Movies: Part 1

The first part in a four-part series on what film can teach us about the relationship between Israel and Palestine.

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

Comic-Con 2014: Star Trek Kickstarter Film "Prelude to Axanar"

A report from SDCC on the Kickstarter "Star Trek" film, "Prelude to Axanar."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus