Movie Reviews: Molière
Opening in limited release, Molière, Kyle Smith suggests in the New York Post, is probably directed at literary snobs who profess to be familiar with the work of the French dramatist. "Very little of [the plot] is funny in 2007," he writes, "but you chuckle to show that you're sophisticated enough to understand that it was funny 300 years ago, or to indicate recognition of the name Tartuffe." Jan Stuart in Newsday puts it this way: "Molière is the sort of slightly naughty but literate frolic that congratulates the audience for its good taste; in other words, it's a bit of a snooze." Virtually every critic compares it to Shakespeare in Love, with Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune in particular noting that such comparisons are inevitable. "Molière," he writes, "is comparatively even-toned and less antic. It's also duller." "This handsome French production obviously bears similarities to Shakespeare in Love, but it is not as thoroughly successful," says Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News. A.O. Scott in the New York Times applauds several of the supporting actors for occasionally bringing the movie to life. "Like any French actor with stage experience," he observes,"they have no doubt been thoroughly schooled in Molière. They could play these parts in their sleep. Or, as may be the case with Molière, in yours." But Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News gives the actors far greater credit, writing that they "elevate what might have been fluff into a genuinely moving tale, and the action is so much fun that it doesn't even matter if you've seen Molière's plays before. Although if you haven't, you'll certainly want to now."