Le Divorce

Le Divorce
Film review by: Witney Seibold

Le Divorce

It’s odd that a romantic comedy set in Paris, starring the undeniably talented Naomi Watts and the crowd-pleasing Kate Hudson, featuring a killer ensemble (among them: Stockard Channing, Bebe Neuwirth, Glenn Close, Matthew Modine, Sam Waterston from “Law & Order,” and Stephen Fry, as British as he can be), and made by the likes of Merchant/Ivory, can be so… flat. True, Ismael Merchant and James Ivory aren’t well known for being up and bright and chipper in the Woody Allen mode (having done the films “The Remains of the Day,” “A Room with a View,” and “Howards End”), but they give it their all. And their all is sadly a cold, flat, and kind of aimless affair.

Isabel Walker (Hudson) has come to Paris to visit, but ends up comforting, her immediately jilted sister, Roxy (Watts). There is a painting that might be a la Tour caught up in the ensuing custody battle. The husband, Henri-Charles (Melvil Poupaud) is dating a Russian firecracker whose husband (Modine) is brooding about as inconspicuously as Hamlet. Isabel gets a job with an American author (Close), and promptly begins bedding two French men: a fiftysomething married right-wing politician (Thierry Lhermitte, as smarmy as they come), and a young scruffy aide more her age (Romain Durais). Also, the Walker family shows up (Waterson, Channing, and a funny Thomas Lennon as the frugal brother). Adultery, lies, suicide attempts, murders, and new relationship ensue.

There is not so much a story in this one, but a collection of events that smear together, which still seem unconnected. Stories do not intersect, and there is no final resolution. The characters talk endlessly about what it is like to live in France, and seem to occupy space in such a way that they blend into the plush, pastel, perfumed, scarf-wearing background of Paris. So much so, that they all but vanish. The only time the film had some life was when the Walkers were on screen, refreshing in their self-awareness, and openness. Odd that the Americans would be the most interesting ones in a film about France, made by Brits.

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Published in: on July 28, 2009 at 11:46 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I saw this film. good)


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