Monday, February 8, 2021

Movie with Abe: French Exit

French Exit
Directed by Azazel Jacobs
Released February 12, 2021 (Theaters)

There comes a time in many people’s lives where they must face the proverbial music and reckon with reality. This can be a more difficult process if someone has for a long time denied what is true and existed in a world detached from that of accountability and responsibility. Change is unpredictable, and when it does happen, taking a posture of acceptance and a proactive approach can be extremely helpful in not losing all sense of stability and comfort. For someone who has never had to do that before, it’s unlikely that it will be an easy step.

Years after the death of her husband, Frances (Michelle Pfeiffer) learns that the vast wealth she once had has been completely decimated. The only option she sees is to travel with her son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), and her cat to Paris, where she is able to stay in the empty apartment owned by her friend Joan (Susan Coyne). When she arrives, she meets a variety of people, including a lonely widow, Mme. Reynard (Valerie Mahaffey), a private investigator (Isaach de Bankolé), and a psychic (Danielle Macdonald). Malcolm’s connections to his ex-fiancée Susan (Imogen Poots) and her new partner Tom (Daniel Di Tomasso) add to the drama, as does the fact that she believes her cat, Small Frank, to possess the soul of her dead husband (Tracy Letts).

This is a truly peculiar film, one that begins with the unusual sight of Frances showing up to Malcolm’s boarding school to spring him after she lets his father’s dead body sit untouched and unreported for days. Their relationship is not a typical mother-son bond, with nonexistent boundaries and a total lack of privacy. The way in they interact also means that Malcolm is fearful of eliciting too strong a reaction in any given situation from his mother, which is part of why things with Susan end up how they do. Frances is not one to acknowledge what is actually going on around her, which leads to the chaos of their Paris experience after losing all of her money.

Being off-kilter doesn’t always make for a hit, and this film feels like a very scattered collection of unrelated ideas. Every character is so exaggerated and inconsistent that it’s hard to become attached to any of them, particularly because they’re all so unbearable. Pfeiffer is undeniably talented but she doesn’t execute this role in a terribly coherent way. In the supporting cast, Poots, de Bankolé, Macdonald, and Mahaffey contribute well, but there’s no real rhyme or reason for how things play out in this bizarre and decidedly unfulfilling film.



Amely said...

Malcolm (Lucas Hedges)

Lakers said...

Les « gens » ne construisent pas votre vie. Comprenez-vous ce qui se passe dans les films ?