Friday, September 26, 2014

Les Marmottes

1993, France, directed by Elie Chouraqui

I'm not quite sure why this one remained on "to see" list so many years -- perhaps a friend had mentioned it back in college, or perhaps it was the rather wonderful cast list (including the object of a major 1990s crush, Virginie Ledoyen), but there's no getting around the fact that the film was a major disappointment. The characters are far too self-absorbed to make them worth caring about, and the storyline is filled with highly artificial narrative turns over the course of a Christmas family gathering (at the well-heeled end of the spectrum); very few of the actors poke through the material, either, to get at something more interesting, though there are very occasional moments that hint at an alternative outcome (the lively opening that promises rather more than it delivers, or the deeply uncomfortable scene when one character goes rather too far in divulging a fantasy). Ms. Ledoyen is, predictably, lovely, but even she couldn't revive the film; even so, co-screenwriter Danièle Thompson clearly liked her work here since she recycled elements rather shamelessly two years later in the Christmas-set family drama La Bûche.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States