Director: Xavier Giannoli
Cast: Catherine Frot, André Marcon, Michel Fau
Runtime: 129 minutes
Showtime: April 30th 4:30 PM
Language: English, Italian, French with English Subtitles
Rating: 18A, brief nudity
César Awards, France: Best Actress (Catherine Frot), Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Sound; Lumiere Awards, France; Best Actress; Venice Film
Festival, Special Mention Award, Xavier Giannoli; thirteen other international nominations.
“Frot’s performance, as a woman so caught up in the joy of music that she doesn’t quite understand how bad she is, is particularly delightful, and often quite moving.”—Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
Marguerite provides a point of comparison to Meryl Streep’s Florence Foster Jenkins, the infamous society woman of the 1930s and 40s who loved to sing classical music and did it badly. The American film is biographical while Marguerite is an imagining inspired by Jenkins and set in 1920s France.
The success of Marguerite hinges on the viewers’ ability to empathize with rather than laugh at the title character as played by Catherine Frot, a wealthy baroness whose sweet, sad-eyed face reflects innocence and a kind of purity that is completely at odds with her wildly off-key performance. Strangers might laugh at the sounds that emanate from her larynx, but she is surrounded by friends, servants, recipients of her generosity, and a husband who no longer loves her but will do everything in his power to keep her from being ridiculed.
Co-writer/director Xavier Giannoli captures the audience with this touching portrait and populates the film with colourful and interesting characters: a mysterious butler/valet reminiscent of Eric von Stroheim in Sunset Boulevard, a talented young singer whose glorious voice is everything Marguerite’s is not, and a former opera star who is reduced to tutoring a talent-free woman whose heart is in the right place.
Marguerite is a poignant, affecting and comedic film that lingers on the mind, along with Frot’s glowing performance. There is more reason than ever to seek out high-quality imports such as this.
Thank you to our sponsor Don Skochinski of RBC Dominion Securites