Sunday, January 9, 2022


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Amanda Sthers
Starring: Toni Collette, Harvey Keitel, Rossy de Palma, Michael Smiley, Tom Hughes, Violaine Gillibert, Stanislas Merhar, Sue Cann, Ariane Seguillon, Brendan Patricks, Tim Fellingham, Josephine de La Baume, Sonia Rolland
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Following her directorial debut with "Je Vais te Manquer", director Amanda Sthers has crafted her follow up, this time collaborating with the well known screenwriter Matthew Robbins (who worked with Steven Spielberg in the 70s, and got his own film produced by Spielberg, "*batteries not included" in the 80s and more recently worked with Guillermo Del Toro on "Mimic" and "Crimson Peak"). The film follows the story of Maria, a maid for a rich American couple currently living in Paris, and trying to stay afloat while navigating some difficult financial times. Anne, the much younger wife of Bob, decides to throw one of her lavish dinners, but Bob at the last minute decides to include his son from a previous marriage, throwing the number of guests into disarray. Anne at the last moment decides to include Maria in the dinner party, much to her reservation and clear objection. During the dinner Maria catches the attention of a British art broker, by the name of David. He is informed by Steven, Bob's son, that she is of Spanish nobility, which only drives his lust further. As their relationship intensifies, and Maria tries to wane it down, Anne becomes increasingly irritated, as she herself navigates a waning marriage, while Bob is pursuing other interests, including other women. As Maria herself navigates this newfound relationship, she soon realizes that feelings are indeed fleeting and that class dynamics are more prevailing than she imagined.
"Madame" is a film that ultimately lives from the ability and magnetism of its performers. It's a film that tries to look at class struggles and what those actually mean in the 21st century, but it fails to bring either a satirical aspect to it, or even a dramatic flair to the relationships that are at its core. It's a film that has a series of commonplace narrative premises, but one that fails to capitalize on the very talented cast who is game for anything the director wants to stage. The relationship between Bob and Anne is never expanded upon, though the fantastic Toni Collette and the always impeccable Harvey Keitel have chemistry and could have built something truly interesting and memorable from that point on. Rossy de Palma who always brings some gravitas and humor to her performances, one only needs to remember "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown", "Kika" or "The Flower of My Secret", all from Pedro Almodovar, is underused in a role that mostly asks her to be surprised and astounded by the events taking place (she's portrayed more as a victim of the circumstances, never truly seizing her own reigns, only ultimately doing so by the epilogue of the narrative). It's a film that is mostly placid, uneventful, and that fails to ask more pertinent questions about class, relationships, and even the ennui of the privileged. Toni Collette, Harvey Keitel, Rossy de Palma and Michael Smiley are all great in their roles, but they deserved a richer, more gripping and satisfying story. Forgettable.