Office Christmas Party
Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…
It has been years since I sensed that Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu were acting. They are, of course, and as a wide variety of characters. But they give their directors what Billy Wilder once asked Jack Lemmon to do: "nothing." There is never a note wrong, never the slightest strain, always such an unforced ease in the sight of the camera that they might have been born onscreen.
Here they are in Francois Ozon's comedy "Potiche." The title is a French word that combines aspects of "trophy wife" and "status symbol." Here comes now the potiche, clad in a red running suit and jogging down a forest path: Suzanne (Deneuve), the bourgeois wife of a provincial factory owner.
Her father created a factory that manufactures umbrellas. Her husband, Robert (Fabrice Luchini), became the boss after the old man's death. It appears that she brought the factory into their marriage, but Robert behaves as if he built it from the ground up with his own hands, one parapluie at a time. He is an arrogant man, the ruler of his little kingdom, who cheats on his fragrant wife with his secretary — who herself seems not very pleased by him.
Suzanne lives a serene and comfortable life, loves her adult son and daughter, understands that her husband has a mistress and is perhaps happy to have the mistress relieve her of some of her duties. That Deneuve so convincingly inhabits this character is a demonstration of effortless skill.