Marguerite tells of the singing career of Marguerite Dumont (Catherine Frot), the worst singer in the world, yet no-one has the heart to tell her the truth, although it’s difficult when she’s raising money for charity, for war orphans on behalf of her Amadeus Club.
Those who don’t should be ashamed from her adulterous husband Georges (André Marcon), her butler Madelbos (Denis Mpunga), the singer she adores – Pezzini (Michel Fau), Marguerite’s young protégé Hazel (Christa Théret), Hazel’s potential suitor Lucien Beaumont (Sylvain Dieuaide), nor his friend Kyrill (Aubert Fenoy). Instead, they all tell her she’s fantastic, yet bigging up her alleged talent is like Reginald Perrin’s Grot shops – making the worthless seem desireable.
Set in the 1920s, at one point her architect husband says of having to help rebuild half of Northern France following World War I, “I distrust Americans. They see reconstruction as a business opportunity”. A dig at the rebuilding of Iraq?
Alas, Marguerite’s tale is the main aspect of the story and is a joke which completely runs out of steam after 40 minutes. And there’s still another 89 minutes to go. I was hoping that Hazel’s situation would become the main focus, but she was soon sidelined.
Hence, in addition to the frequent ‘mugging’ reaction shots from Madelbos, the film gives us a few amusing moments that can be filed until “French farce” where, at best, they’re encouraging her to make a fool out of herself, and at worst, I figured early on that we were being encouraged to laugh at mental illness.
Along the way, it’s nice to hear a few opera pieces playing as they should be performed, but aside from that, there’s little else. Hence, a trip to the cinema to see this is as welcome as a trip to the opera where Marguerite Dumont is on the bill…
Marguerite is released in cinemas this Friday, March 18th, but isn’t available to pre-order just yet on Blu-ray and DVD, and click on the poster for the full-size image.
Running time: 129 minutes
Studio: Picturehouse Entertainment
Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision)
Released: March 18th 2016
Director: Xavier Giannoli
Producers: Olivier Delbosc and Marc Missonnier
Screenplay: Xavier Giannoli and Marcia Romano
Music: Ronan Maillard
Marguerite Dumont: Catherine Frot
Georges Dumont: André Marcon
Atos Pezzini: Michel Fau
Hazel: Christa Théret
Madelbos: Denis Mpunga
Lucien Beaumont: Sylvain Dieuaide
Kyrill Von Priest: Aubert Fenoy
Félicité la barbue: Sophia Leboutte
Diego: Théo Cholbi
Françoise Bellaire: Astrid Whettnall
Le médecin: Vincent Schmitt
Militaire récital: Christian Pereira
La colonel: Martine Pascal
Michel Aurenbach: Grégoire Strecker
Monsieur Taupe: Jean-Yves Tual
M. Callot: Boris Hybner
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.