COMEDY; 1hr 43min (French with subtitles)
STARRING: Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Fabrice Luchini
Private business: Deneuve and Depardieu
Madame Suzanne Pujol (Deneuve), for 30 years the trophy wife of an odious and condescending owner of a small-town umbrella factory (Luchini, overdoing it as Robert), has willed herself to be happy. It’s true she has her pretty house and the poems she writes to console her. And when Robert is taken hostage by his outraged factory workers, she also proves to have a steel spine. Suzanne enlists the aid of local mayor and staunch Communist Maurice Babin (a muted Depardieu) to free her choleric husband and help break the strike. She takes over the running of the business when Robert is carted off to hospital in a state, and does a predictably terrific job. (Plus she once had impulse sex with Maurice. And he’s not all!)
His characters couldn’t be more simply drawn but writer-director François Ozon (Swimming Pool ) is well aware of his star’s sparkly worth. Seventy-year-old Deneuve may be older and stouter but she’s no less impressive for that and the ladylike ease with which she owns her scenes is the highlight of a slimline show.