Saturday, December 13, 2014

Movie Review ... Folies Bergere


foliesbergere.poster.wsWhen a child leaves the family home to the occasional dismay of parents, this is usually results in the ‘empty nest syndrome’.  How these fresh waters are navigated has seen marriages sink or swim whilst forging the new horizons free of daily parental responsibilities.  ‘Folies Bergere’ uses this concept to good effect.  A French romantic comedy, the direction and cast enhance the tale of someone eager to rejuvenate their stagnant life.

Working on a farm with husband Xavier (Jean-Pierre Darroussin), Brigette (Isabelle Huppert) yearns for more personal challenges.  After the recent departure of their son from the familial home, she leaves her husband to seek adventure. Finding herself in Paris, she begins a romance with suave stranger Jesper (Michael Nyqvist).  With rekindled energy and outlook, Brigette’s actions have a marked effect on her marriage in ways she never would have imagined.

Directed by Mark Fitoussi, ‘Folies Bergere’ is different from the usual rom-com fare.  Instead of clear heroes and villains, Fitoussi’s characters have genuinely complex emotions.  Xavier and Brigette are a loving couple looking to escape marital inertia.  Any long-term partners would have their ups and downs with their ability to consistently re-fresh their union a key to longevity.  The issues of love and fidelity are explored with keen astuteness and played well by a fine ensemble.

Unlike many French-set films ‘Folies Bergere’ doesn’t linger too long on the surrounds.  It ensures the story remains front and centre than the admittedly lush vistas.  Deconstructing and then re-assembling Xavier and Brigette’s marriage, the script effectively shows both facets of the coin.  Wisely avoiding showing sympathy for either side, it leaves it to audiences to judge their deeds.  The level of emotional authenticity further magnifies the realism ‘Folies Bergere’s captures, making for continually engaging viewing.

An interesting foray into the nature of love and marriage, ‘Folies Bergere’ is generally satisfying.  Having some unexpected twists, how couples can re-engage with each other is a theme ‘Folies Bergere’ runs with well.

Folies Bergere 9980

Rating out of 10:  7

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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