Thursday, March 7, 2019

Scenes from a marriage, French-style, in Nicolas Bedos/Doria Tillier's funny/moving/ surprising MONSIEUR & MADAME ADELMAN

The remarkable -- and remarkably entertaining -- French film from 2017, MONSIEUR ET MADAME ADELMAN, seems to me all the more so for never getting a theatrical release here in the USA. Instead it is arriving straight-to-DVD via Icarus Home Video and Distrib Films US and is very much worth seeking out.

What's more, it bears quite a noticeable comparison to another recent film that I shall not name here, for fear for giving away a major spoiler. It is also better by leaps and bounds than that not-to-be-mentioned movie, which, if you've seen it, by the end of Monsieur et Madame Adelman, you will probably cry its name aloud. A creation of the film's director, co-writer and leading actor, shown at far left, Nicolas Bedos (son of Guy Bedos), and co-writer and leading actress, Doria Tillier, shown near left, the movie tracks, over two very solid hours, the four-decades-plus relationship of this eventual husband and wife, with all the ups and down one might expect -- plus quite a lot more that one might not.

The film begins at the end, as our heroine sits down for an interview with a journalist regarding her life with her late husband, a famous Prix Goncourt-winning writer, of whom she was probably his fiercest critic. From the almost schoolgirlish crush she has on the guy, through a very oddball sort of seduction via, first, his best friend and then his older brother, Sarah Adelman achieves just about all she sets her sights on, along with other things she'd perhaps have preferred not to.

Her man and budding writer, Victor (how he comes by her last name proves one of the many delights of this film), is actually nowhere near as interesting as his wife, which, by the end of this unusual movie, becomes one of the more pertinent points of discussion about M. & Mme. Adelman.

Oh, he is plenty interesting enough, as portrayed by Bedos fils, yet this movie makes clear that he is also, somehow, a kind of creation of Sarah who, from the very first, refuses to see him as he is but rather as the person she wants him to be. But then don't so many of us, when "falling in love," see someone quite other than the person standing right in front of us? We're just not maybe so single-minded and insistent as Sarah.

While the film takes the usual course -- respective families, work, success (above), parenting (below), middle age and beyond -- how all these play out is not so much the expected. (The couple's first-born child: whew!) And being a French film, we're also given a tad more philosophizing and food-for-thought that an American counterpart might offer.

The movie's awash with humor, often of the dark variety. It is also a grand romance -- in its oddball way. And a "history" of sorts. Psychiatry/therapy play into things, as well, with the gifted Denis Podalydès in the role of Victor's shrink. (The film's "take" on Judaism is unusual, too -- a welcome change from so much else we've seen.)

Where M. & Mme. Adelman is going and how it gets there is as surprising as is most else about this film. It will leave you, I think, with very mixed feelings. Which, TrustMovies suspects, is exactly how these talented filmmakers would want you to feel.

From Distrib Films US via Icarus Home Video and running 120 minutes, the movie hits the street on DVD this coming Tuesday, March 12 -- for purchase and/or rental.  Do check this one out!

No comments: