Mathilde Seigner

Mathilde Seigner

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Dry Cleaning Review


OK
Two married French sticks-in-the-mud try to keep a dry cleaning business running while their lives degenerate into a boring daily grind. To spice things up, they decide to check out a brother-sister drag show, only to inexplicably get caught up in a kind of threesome with the male counterpart. Far less interesting than its subject matter would suggest, Dry Cleaning is scarcely more enthralling than its title. (Also of note: the subtitling is pathetic.)

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Alias Betty Review


Excellent
You're a famous novelist and your son dies tragically. What does your chemically iffy mother do? She kidnaps a lookalike baby and gives him to you.

Such is the premise of Alias Betty, a curiously titled film that digs far deeper into questions about the appropriateness of parents and the definition of insanity -- all while deftly avoiding a drop into movie of the week territory.

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With A Friend Like Harry Review


Very Good
Filled with a tantalizing air of suspense, With a Friend Like Harry is an unusual yet well-balanced mix of dark comedy, French thriller, and surreal drama. As I was watching the film, I found myself groping for its message at each turn of the plot. Its ultimate effect is comparable to Claude Chabrol's La Cérémonie, with all its violence and commentary on class delineation.

In With a Friend Like Harry, two former schoolmates accidentally meet in a roadside bathroom. Michel (Laurent Lucas) is on vacation with his wife Claire (Mathilde Seigner) and their three little daughters. He is harried and haggard, far from enjoying this so-called vacation: an endless ride with whining and screaming kids in an un-air conditioned car. Harry (Sergi López) is everything Michel is not: Sleek and self-contained, he doesn't seem to be burdened by anything except good memories and a load of money. Within minutes, Harry invites himself and his girlfriend, a corpulent, springy bun named Plum (Sophie Guillemin), to Michel's house -- to reminisce about the good old school days Michel himself can barely remember.

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Venus Beauty Institute Review


OK
A movie that centers around the workplace can end up feeling like a sitcom. You have a couple of principal characters whose lives are examined, and a small cast of others that are thrown in to add pizazz to the storytelling. This may work in a well-written 22-minute TV show, but in Venus Beauty Institute it results in a film that eventually loses its focus, trying to rely on passion that just ain't that passionate.

Pity poor Angèle (Nathalie Baye). She toils away at the titular French beauty salon during the day, and looks for quick sexual encounters at night. In her 40s, she feels too burned by the loves in her past to get hurt again, and instead finds her happiness in hunting down men with whom to have trysts. Early in the film, she quickly approaches a stranger in a cafeteria, tactlessly luring him away from dinner so they can do it in his car. We get the feeling that she wants more -- a funny opening sequence where she gets dumped helps -- but she's too headstrong for that.

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The Girl From Paris Review


OK
The old men who farm France's glorious Rhone-Alps region would tell you that a woman couldn't operate a farm successfully, much less on her own. When Sandrine (Mathilde Seigner), a successful Parisienne who teaches a course in Internet navigation at a trade school, finds herself fed up with life in the city, she purchases a goat farm from Adrien (Michel Serrault) and shows them to be wrong.

Or does she? Although Adrien, who stays on at his farm after the sale in an attached cottage, defends Sandrine to the neighboring farmers ("She sells her goat cheese on the internet! To people in Germany!"), and although Sandrine expands the farm to include a popular bed and breakfast inn for tourists, both privately wonder if solitude and sixteen-hour workdays equal a full life for an attractive young single woman. In the beginning, in fact, Adrien spitefully looks forward to Sandrine's failure. But as this determined woman's true industriousness and drive are revealed in her competent management of the farm, he gradually comes to accept and then admire her. Meanwhile Sandrine is paid a visit from an old flame, and their night together triggers feelings she had hoped she didn't have - not about this particular young man, exactly, but about life and companionship in general. She blames Adrien in part, simply because he was right; their relationship is further complicated when the old man suffers a heart attack and comes to the realization that he can no longer imagine life on the farm without her.

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With A Friend Like Harry Review


Very Good

While the Hollywood assembly line cranks out more and more formulaic, cookie-cutter psycho movies about slashers, stalkers and serial killers, a hit French thriller has slipped in under the radar, so sublimely subtle and tangible it makes "The Talented Mr. Ripley" look like a dog and pony show.

The film is called "With a Friend Like Harry" and the title character has an M.O. similar to Tom Ripley's -- he elbows his way into the life of an old classmate who doesn't remember him. But Harry (Sergi Lopez) certainly remembers -- scratch that -- has memorized everything about Michel (Laurent Lucas), a man he hasn't seen in 20 years.

The two of them meet by chance in a service station bathroom as Michel and his family are on their way to their fixer-upper country cottage for a vacation. By way of offering Michel's kids and wife a ride in his air-conditioned Mercedes on this stiflingly hot day, Harry invites himself and his sumptuous young fiancée Plum (Sophie Guillemin, "L'ennui") along on this family vacation.

Continue reading: With A Friend Like Harry Review

Mathilde Seigner

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Mathilde Seigner Movies

With a Friend Like Harry Movie Review

With a Friend Like Harry Movie Review

Filled with a tantalizing air of suspense, With a Friend Like Harry is an unusual...

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Venus Beauty Institute Movie Review

Venus Beauty Institute Movie Review

A movie that centers around the workplace can end up feeling like a sitcom....

With A Friend Like Harry Movie Review

With A Friend Like Harry Movie Review

While the Hollywood assembly line cranks out more and more formulaic, cookie-cutter psycho movies about...

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