Folies Bergère

Provincial Living - - Entertainment - By Jen­nie Sharpe

Brigit­te­and Xavier are 50-some­thing empty nesters. They’re also Nor­mandy cat­tle breed­ers, so it’s not sur­pris­ing that their lives are a lit­tle lack­ing in spice. Xavier (Jean- Pierre Dar­roussin) is crazy about his cows, but Brigitte (Is­abelle Hup­pert) finds them bor­ing.

Brigitte’s only other in­ter­ests in life, how­ever, are wor­ry­ing about her in­ex­pli­ca­ble eczema and ex­per­i­ment­ing with tofu burgers. But tofu burgers don’t cut it with a cat­tle breeder, and Xavier has lit­tle time for Brigitte.

The breath­tak­ing Is­abelle Hup­pert looks suit­ably out of place in a Nor­mandy cow shed. So, when the hand­some Stan (Pio Mar­mai) starts chat­ting her up at a party, the only ques­tion is, why hasn’t a gor­geous younger man res­cued her from bore­dom a good deal sooner than this?

Brigitte fol­lows Stan to Paris, but things don’t go in the clichéd di­rec­tion we might ex­pect. Di­rec­tor Marc Fi­toussi has cre­ated a film that tran­scends the pre­dictable. With a light, sub­tle touch, he steers Brigitte through a se­ries of amus­ing scenes and into the arms of the man she re­ally de­serves – charm­ing Dan­ish pe­ri­odon­tist, Jes­per (Michael Nyqvist).

Folies Bergère is a sim­ple story about a woman’s re-dis­cov­er­ing the abil­ity to love – not just the men in her life, but life it­self. Paris is the per­fect set­ting for such a rekin­dling, and the film’s cin­e­matog­ra­phers clearly adore both Hup­pert and the city. Add to this a sim­i­lar process of dis­cov­ery in Xavier’s life (in­clud­ing a sublime scene of the cou­ple’s tram­polin­ist son in ac­tion), and you have a rom-com of sur­pris­ing sweet­ness, beauty and depth.

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