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It's Only The End Of The World Review

Essential

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of accolades alongside his name. All six of his feature films have won major awards, including this one, which like several others tackles a dysfunctional family with style, humour and unflinching nastiness. This one also features a stellar cast at the top of their game, and a situation that's almost painfully easy to identify with.

It opens as Louis (Gaspard Ulliel) arrives at his rural family home for the first time in 12 years to tell his family that he's dying. But he finds it difficult to get the words out. His mother Martine (Nathalie Baye) is chirpy and excited, his older brother Antoine (Vincent Cassel) challenges everything everyone says, and their younger sister Suzanne (Lea Seydoux) is curious to learn more about this brother she never really knew. And then there's Antoine's eerily patient wife Catherine (Marion Cotillard), who quietly observes everything until she understands what Louis is struggling to tell everyone, long before he can say it out loud.

Yes, this is an exploration of how awkward it is to go home again, falling back into old patterns of behaviour that make it very difficult to be yourself and say what needs to be said. And also how hard it is to understand the experiences and lifestyle of people we were once very close to who have moved on. The film is based on a play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, which is apparent in its closed-in location and the series of pointed conversations. And Dolan opens this out cleverly, using visually stunning camerawork that continually isolates the characters' inner thoughts and feelings in contrast to their outer actions. In other words, it's immediately clear why Louis left these people behind.

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Gaspard Ulliel, Lea Seydoux, Marion Cotillard, Xavier Dolan, Nathalie Baye , Vincent Cassel - 69th Cannes Film Festival - 'It's Only The End Of The World (Juste La Fin Du Monde)' - Photocall at Palais de Festivals, Cannes Film Festival - Cannes, France - Thursday 19th May 2016

Gaspard Ulliel, Lea Seydoux, Marion Cotillard, Xavier Dolan, Nathalie Baye and Vincent Cassel
Gaspard Ulliel, Lea Seydoux, Marion Cotillard, Xavier Dolan, Nathalie Baye and Vincent Cassel
Gaspard Ulliel, Lea Seydoux, Marion Cotillard, Xavier Dolan, Nathalie Baye and Vincent Cassel
Gaspard Ulliel

Nathalie Baye - '3 Hearts' New York premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals - Manhattan, New York, United States - Friday 6th March 2015

Nathalie Baye
Nathalie Baye
Nathalie Baye
Nathalie Baye
Nathalie Baye
Nathalie Baye

Laurence Anyways Review


Very Good

After I Killed My Mother and Heartbeats, 23-year-old filmmaker Dolan gets even more ambitious with this epic-length romantic drama. Not all of his flourishes work, and the film is far too long, but there are moments of artistic genius all the way through that make it worth seeing. It's also anchored by two terrific central performances that work their way under our skin.

At the centre is the free-spirited relationship between Laurence (Poupaud) and his long-time girlfriend Fred (Clement). But Fred is caught completely off-guard when Laurence tells her that he has always felt like he was a man in a woman's body, and now he wants to start the transition to become female. She initially rejects him, but realises that she still loves him, regardless of his gender. His mother (Baye) takes longer to come round. And for Laurence the treatment from his colleagues and society at large is even more difficult to cope with, as he's the brunt of rampant bigotry. Over the course of a decade, his relationship with Fred is stretched to the breaking point, and after a few years apart they meet up again to see if they still belong together.

Poupaud and Clement deliver startlingly naturalistic performances as Laurence and Fred, letting us see into their souls as they face secrets, betrayals, outside pressure and the continual feeling that they belong together. Intriguingly, all of this unfurls in a way that's completely organic, as Dolan grounds everything in real human emotions. In fact, the only complaint is that the film feels artistically indulgent, and could have used a stronger editor to shape the story into a leaner, less rambling narrative.

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Laurence Anyways Trailer


Laurence and his girlfriend Fred couldn't ask for a more special relationship. They spend as much time as they have together and are as passionately in love with each other as they were when they met 10 years ago. Although tempers flare occasionally, the couple are dependent on one another and do everything within their power to disassociate themselves with other people, despite the fact that Laurence is constantly around others in his career as a teacher and writer. However, things aren't as perfect as they could be for Laurence. He has a secret that he hoped would be forgotten once he met Fred; he longs to be a woman. When he breaks down and confesses his feelings to Fred, she is initially shocked but agrees to try and make it work. When Laurence starts dressing as a woman, things are not straight forward and the prejudices of society cause him to be shunned in his career, criticised by his parents and beaten up in the street. Fred is also having second thoughts - can she maintain their troubled relationship even with the constant worry and societal pressure?

This hard-hitting French romance is one of the most mature storylines director and writer Xavier Dolan ('I Killed My Mother', 'Heartbeats') has ever worked on. It is set to be released on November 30th 2012 in the UK.

Director: Xavier Dolan

Continue: Laurence Anyways Trailer

Melvil Poupaud, Nathalie Baye, Xavier and Cannes Film Festival - Melvil Poupaud, Nathalie Baye, Suzanne Clement, Director Xavier Dolan and actress Monia Chokri Saturday 19th May 2012 'Laurence Anyways' photocall during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Melvil Poupaud, Nathalie Baye, Xavier and Cannes Film Festival
Melvil Poupaud, Nathalie Baye, Xavier and Cannes Film Festival
Melvil Poupaud, Nathalie Baye, Xavier and Cannes Film Festival

Melvil Poupaud, Nathalie Baye, Xavier and Cannes Film Festival - Melvil Poupaud, Nathalie Baye, Suzanne Clement, Xavier Dolan and Monia Chokri Saturday 19th May 2012 'Lawless' photocall during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Beautiful Lies Review


Very Good
Tautou reteams with her Priceless director Salvadori for another charming romantic comedy that plays with the stereotypical structure. Sure, we know exactly how it has to end, but getting there is thoroughly enjoyable.

Emilie (Tautou) runs a beauty salon with her friend Sylvia (Lagarde), but neither knows that their handyman Jean (Bouajila) has a crush on Emilie, who's intimidated by the fact that Jean used to work for the UN. When she receives an anonymous love letter, which she doesn't realise was written by Jean, she forwards it to perk up her lonely mother Maddy (Baye). But Maddy develops a correspondence with her "mystery lover" and eventually traces the letters back to Jean. So Emilie asks him to play along. Of course, he's not happy about this.

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Nathalie Baye Saturday 15th May 2010 2010 Cannes International Film Festival - Day 12 - Palme d'Or Closing Ceremony Red Carpet Arrivals Cannes, France

Nathalie Baye

Tell No One Review


OK
Sometimes it requires the eyes of a foreigner to make the old new again. In adapting American crime writer Harlan Coben's 2001 novel Tell No One, French filmmaker Guillaume Canet brings a distancing Gallic fracturedness to a straightforward mystery. By doing so, Canet adds layers that probably weren't there in the original story but also puts us at a distance from its more pulp elements, which are left adrift in this calmly-paced homage to Hitchcock's wrong-man scenarios. An odd policier, Tell No One isn't without its rewards, but is also certainly not without problems.

Unfolding with fecund ripeness in a long and languorous day and evening in the French countryside, where some siblings and their respective others share a meal and sharp-edged conversation at the old family house, the film plays with the notion of barely-concealed secrets and a hint of rottenness. When Alex Beck (Francois Cluzet) chases his wife Margot (Marie-Josee Croze) through a forested pathway lined with lushly blooming flowers, the scene is romantic but weighted with death -- it wouldn't surprise you to find out that the soil was so rich due to bodies being buried there. Like the childhood sweethearts they once were, Alex and Margot swim playfully in a small pond and then coil up naked in the warm night air on a floating raft. She goes ashore; there are sounds of a struggle. Alex, panicked, swims for the dock only to get whacked unconscious by an unseen assailant.

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Le Petit Lieutenant Review


Excellent
Is procedure really that boring? For ages now, the great detectives and police officers of film noirs and action flicks have dreaded the idea of pushing papers, running by procedure and the loathsome task known as a "desk job." But isn't there such a thing as payoff? Isn't there a deeper, resounding thrill in seeing a case from first report to the click of the handcuffs? If you asked most studio pictures, the answer would be a cumulative "nope," but director Xavier Beauvois seems to be in love with the notion.

Fresh out of police academy, Antoine (Jalil Lespert) has just signed up for assignment in Paris, leaving his wife in the suburbs. His excitement increases when he is introduced to his boss, Inspector Vaudieu (venerable Nathalie Baye), a legend who is returning to work after the death of her son and a long fight with alcoholism. The inspector takes Antoine and his supervisor Solo (Roschdy Zem) along to investigate a homicide, the murder of a bum that unravels into the hunt for two Russian thugs. Antoine gets paired with an older cop, Louis (a fantastic Antoine Chappey), and the inspector takes Solo as her partner as they both take statements, question witnesses, and slowly tiptoe towards the truth.

Continue reading: Le Petit Lieutenant Review

Le Petit Lieutenant Review


Excellent
Is procedure really that boring? For ages now, the great detectives and police officers of film noirs and action flicks have dreaded the idea of pushing papers, running by procedure and the loathsome task known as a "desk job." But isn't there such a thing as payoff? Isn't there a deeper, resounding thrill in seeing a case from first report to the click of the handcuffs? If you asked most studio pictures, the answer would be a cumulative "nope," but director Xavier Beauvois seems to be in love with the notion.

Fresh out of police academy, Antoine (Jalil Lespert) has just signed up for assignment in Paris, leaving his wife in the suburbs. His excitement increases when he is introduced to his boss, Inspector Vaudieu (venerable Nathalie Baye), a legend who is returning to work after the death of her son and a long fight with alcoholism. The inspector takes Antoine and his supervisor Solo (Roschdy Zem) along to investigate a homicide, the murder of a bum that unravels into the hunt for two Russian thugs. Antoine gets paired with an older cop, Louis (a fantastic Antoine Chappey), and the inspector takes Solo as her partner as they both take statements, question witnesses, and slowly tiptoe towards the truth.

Continue reading: Le Petit Lieutenant Review

The Man Who Loved Women Review


Very Good
Here's a title that says it all. Bertrand Morane (Charles Denner, upon whom the film is partly/sort of based) loves women, and he'll jeopardize life and limb just to get a look at a woman's shins. This semi-classic François Truffaut film is little more than a series of "relationships" of Bertrand's, as seen in flashback from his funeral and through the lyricism of his autobiography. The funny thing isn't just how desperate Bertrand is -- he's also rather homely and seemingly irresistable. The ending is classic: From his death bed, he reaches for the nurse, only to fall to his ultimate demise. It's a quirky film about, well, not quite love, and not quite relationships, but what passed for them in 1970s France.

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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 Flower Of Evil Review


Weak
Cranking out a movie a year, Claude Chabrol is having a serious case of Woody Allen syndrome. The best thing Woody could do right now is take a break for a few years to recharge his batteries. As for Chabrol, he's been kicking around the same stately, even-handed, vaguely perverse thrillers for about 30 years (and none of his popular works ever got as good as his nasty 1969 psychodrama Le Boucher). He once again sets a moderately pleasing ambiance, in an upscale house in France's Bordeaux region, where a family keeps closely guarded secrets. As the secrets gradually come to light, one becomes aware that Chabrol is a mechanical storyteller more than an emotional one. One comes to doubt his economy of cinematic language as the last refuge of the detached and unemotional.

But The Flower of Evil remains pleasing to watch, mostly because of an attractive cast. Francois (Benoît Magimel) returns home to father Gérard (Bernard Le Coq) and stepmother Anne (Nathalie Baye). It's not long before he's set his eyes on stepsister Michèle (Mélanie Doutey), and they try to keep a lid on their boiling-over passions. They don't want skeletons coming out of the closet during Anne's mayoral campaign. But not everyone sees it that way: A telegram arrives with insidious content, and the family worries that more secrets will come out that will make their children's tête-à-tête seem minor in comparison. Enlisting their clever Aunt Line (a delightful Suzanne Flon), the children attempt to protect themselves and, if possible, cause trouble for the hateful, lustful, blandly disgusting Gérard.

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Nathalie Baye Movies

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Laurence Anyways Movie Review

Laurence Anyways Movie Review

After I Killed My Mother and Heartbeats, 23-year-old filmmaker Dolan gets even more ambitious with...

Laurence Anyways Trailer

Laurence Anyways Trailer

Laurence and his girlfriend Fred couldn't ask for a more special relationship. They spend as...

Beautiful Lies Movie Review

Beautiful Lies Movie Review

Tautou reteams with her Priceless director Salvadori for another charming romantic comedy that plays with...

Tell No One Movie Review

Tell No One Movie Review

Sometimes it requires the eyes of a foreigner to make the old new again. In...

Venus Beauty Institute Movie Review

Venus Beauty Institute Movie Review

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

An Affair Of Love Movie Review

An Affair Of Love Movie Review

My first thought was, "Oh God, another one of those pretentious foreign art house sex...

Catch Me If You Can Movie Review

Catch Me If You Can Movie Review

Steven Spielberg's best movie in at least a decade, "Catch Me If You Can" is...

An Affair Of Love Movie Review

An Affair Of Love Movie Review

A brief but compelling two-character drama about a purely sexual relationship that unwittingly evolves into...

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