Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Le Divorce

posted by rkumar
B-
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations, including adultery
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Murders (offscreen), attempted suicide
Diversity Issues:Cultural differences a theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:2003

“Le Divorce” may look and sound like a glossy romantic comedy but it is instead an uneven take on the culture clash between America and France.

Kate Hudson plays Isabel, a California girl arriving in Paris to help her pregnant sister Roxy (Naomi Watts). But just as Isabel arrives, Roxy’s artist husband Charles-Henri (Melvil Poupaud) leaves. So Isabel and Roxy are set adrift in a culture and legal system that is, well, foreign to them.

Both are very drawn to France where, as American expatriate writer Olivia Pace (Glenn Close) says, you could write a book chapter just about the way French women wear their scarves. Isabel, who arrives in California pastels and shell jewelry, is soon exploring French culture just as Americans have done for centuries — she becomes romantically involved. And not with one Frenchman, but two — Olivia Pace’s young assistant and an elegant, distinguished, and wealthy older man who is Charles-Henri’s uncle Edgar (a very dapper Thierry Lhermitte). Edgar is very direct with Isabel, asking her to be his mistress and sending her an Hermes Kelly bag (a very expensive purse).

But Isabel and Roxy do not know how to deal with the subtlety and indirection of the rest of Charles-Henri’s family, led by his mother (Leslie Caron). They serve exquisite meals and make soothing comments, but do not provide any opportunities for Roxy to talk about her situation. Meanwhile, they appear to be plotting to have a painting hanging in Roxy’s apartment declared to be part of the marital assets to be divided in the divorce. Roxy says that the painting belonged to her family, who just loaned it to her for her apartment. But it now appears that the painting might be much more valuable than they had thought, and Charles-Henri’s brother brings in a curator from the Louvre to authenticate it as a Georges de la Tour.

The ambiguity of the painting’s provenance (three different experts come to see it and all have different opinions) and its status as a marital asset parallels the precariousness Roxy and Isabel experience in their relationships. Roxy wants Charles-Henri to stay with her and their daughter and new baby, but he is in love with a Russian woman whose American husband (Matthew Modine) is frantic with grief. Isabel has something of a French makeover through her relationship with Edgar, but it doesn’t quite take — Edgar has to keep reminding her that she is carrying the Kelly bag on the wrong occasions.

All of the performances sparkle and there are some witty and sharply observed moments. But the movie’s own perspective becomes too ambiguous, especially when it veers into a tragedy that throws everything out of balance.

Parents should know that the movie has mature themes, sexual references and situations, including adultery. There is some strong language. And there is an attempted suicide, a character who threatens other characters with a gun, and serious (off-screen) violence.

Families who see this movie should talk about the way the different characters see and react to the same things — for example, the painting, marital fidelity, discussion of sensitive topics. Is that due to differences in culture or to something else?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Amelie.



Previous Posts

Unfinished Business
"Unfinished Business" is a story about three renegade renegades from bureaucracy going up against The Man and the importance of the individual in an era of soul-grinding corporatism. But the mo

posted 5:59:57pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Chappie
So, basically, no one here saw "Terminator." Or "Frankenstein." But maybe they did see "Robocop?" Or "Short Circuit?" Writer/director Neill Blomkamp likes sci-fi allegories of social and political conf

posted 5:59:11pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
A documentary called "Young at Heart" had a choir of singers in their 80's performing contemporary rock songs.  The very fact of their age and experience gave an unexpectedly profound meaning to the words.  And in "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," a plot that ranges from silly to very silly

posted 5:55:14pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

Merchants of Doubt
Do you remember the tobacco executives standing up before a Congressional Committee, their right hands raised, each of them swearing that they did not believe that tobacco caused cancer?  That was in 1994, three decades after the US Surgeon General's report showing the adverse health effects of cig

posted 5:30:43pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

MVP of the Week: Dev Patel
British-born actor Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire, The Newsroom) is competing with himself this week as the star of two big releases. In the sequel "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" h

posted 3:38:30pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.