Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Movie with Abe: Mama Weed

Mama Weed
Directed by Jean-Paul Salomé
Released July 16, 2021 (Theaters)

There are reasons that stereotypes exist, and they usually stem from what someone has experienced or what someone believes they have experienced. Those two may not be one and the same, but the idea of having had a negative interaction with an individual of a particular class or ethnicity may prejudice someone against working with other people they think share the same heritage or values even if that irresponsible and closeminded perspective couldn’t be further from the case. General expectations can often be used to one’s advantage since, in all likelihood, not conforming to what others are looking for can allow someone else to operate completely under the radar and unnoticed.

Patience Portefeux (Isabelle Huppert) works an interpreter for the Paris police, translating between the French authorities and the Arab population that often finds itself in their crosshairs. She also devotes a considerable amount of time to caring for her elderly mother (Liliane Rovère) and engaging in a romance with her captain (Hippolyte Girardot). When her worlds collide and she ends up with a large supply of drugs no one knows she has, she finds herself in a unique position to set up a side business that she can ensure no one else is able to monitor since she is the one doing the translating for the very people looking for her.

This film is based on the novel “The Godmother” by Hannelore Cayre. It’s a story that, similar to Clark Kent’s classic Superman costume, relies heavily on the idiocy of Patience’s police peers who hear her own voice on a recording and have no idea that it’s her, and who don’t realize that she’s purely making things up when she translates her own words and those of the people she’s working with from wiretaps. There’s a tremendous suspension of disbelief necessary to take this narrative seriously, but fortunately it’s full of comic touches that make it light and entertaining, making its legitimacy not of paramount concern.

One of the best reasons to see this and most films is Huppert, who continues to deliver marvelous performances that show what she’s capable of doing. It’s particularly fun to see her become this allegedly Moroccan drug kingpin and infuse humor into the moments in which she’s dodging security cameras and trying to work with less-than-subtle partners who don’t closely follow her instructions. This film boasts a few surprises along the way, leading to an enjoyable conclusion that leaves enough open-ended to make its contents memorable and enthralling.


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