Director: Xavier Giannoli
By Sarah Stopforth
French filmmaker Xavier Giannoli has created a hilarious comedy/drama set in 1921, France, about a wealthy Opera singer, named Marguerite Dumont, who is completely oblivious to the fact that she is woefully untalented. Marguerite is loosely based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins (to be played by Meryl Streep in the upcoming UK biopic), an American socialite and singer renowned for her terrible singing voice.
The film opens with a young singer who arrives at the Dumont residence to perform a duet at a benefit for war orphans that Marguerite is hosting and performing at. This is where two young men, a journalist and an anarchist, jump the fence to hear and see the most talked-about opera singer in Paris. But when she opens her mouth to sing, people cannot believe what they’re hearing; she’s wildly off-key.
As well as the film being a true comedy it also deals with the troubles in the marriage of Marguerite and Georges Dumont. Georges begins to distance himself from his wife as her desire to perform to the community become greater, and he worries for her mental and emotional state. “To me, she’s no longer a wife. She’s become a sort of freak.” Although this story seems humorous and ridiculous when you watch it, it is more of a tragedy, exploring the delusions of a lonely, well-off French housewife who is determined to achieve her dream.
This entire film was a pleasure to watch- the details from 1920s France were gorgeous (from the costumes to the art direction), and the dialogue is well written, very clever and laugh-out-loud hilarious.
This French masterpiece is so far the best film of the year thus far. Go see it.
Marguerite starring Catherine Frot, André Marcon, Sylvain Dieuaide, Denis Mpunga, Michel Fau and Christa Theret, is now showing at selected Luna Palace Cinemas.