Thursday, April 1, 2021

French Exit Review: A Darkly Comedic and Quirky Family Affair

Michelle Pfeiffer	...	Frances Price Lucas Hedges	Lucas Hedges	...	Malcolm Price Tracy Letts	Tracy Letts	...	Franklin Price (voice) Valerie Mahaffey	Valerie Mahaffey	...	Mme. Reynard Susan Coyne	Susan Coyne	...	Joan Imogen Poots	Imogen Poots	...	Susan Danielle Macdonald	Danielle Macdonald	...	Madeleine the Medium Isaach De Bankolé	Isaach De Bankolé	...	Julius Daniel di Tomasso	Daniel di Tomasso	...	Tom Eddie Holland	Eddie Holland	...	Young Malcom Prince

Release date: April 2, 2021
Running time: 114 minutes
Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Imogen Poots
Director: Azazel Jacobs

“My plan was to die before the money ran out,” says 60-year-old penniless Manhattan socialite Frances Price (Michelle Pfeiffer), but things didn’t go as planned. Her husband Franklin has been dead for 12 years and with his vast inheritance gone, she cashes in the last of her possessions and resolves to live out her twilight days anonymously in a borrowed apartment in Paris, accompanied by her directionless son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) and a cat named Small Frank—who may or may not embody the spirit of Frances’s dead husband.

Matt Holland	...	Headmaster Christine Lan	Christine Lan	...	Sylvia Robert Higden	Robert Higden	...	Mr. Baker Larry Day	Larry Day	...	Ralph Rudy Laura Mitchell	Laura Mitchell	...	Hostess Christopher B. MacCabe	Christopher B. MacCabe	...	Daniel Julian Bailey	Julian Bailey	...	Beat Cop Rebecca Gibian	Rebecca Gibian	...	Mr. Baker's Assistant Una Kay	Una Kay	...	Confetti-Throwing Woman on Ship Christopher Hayes	Christopher Hayes	...	Waiter on Ship Bruce Dinsmore	Bruce Dinsmore	...	Captain Vlasta Vrana	Vlasta Vrana	...	Boris Maurus (Ship's Doctor) Jean-Michel Le Gal	Jean-Michel Le Gal	...	Customs Agent Abdul Saboor Aiasuddin	Abdul Saboor Aiasuddin	...	Cab Driver Benoit Mauffette	Benoit Mauffette	...	Rude French Waiter Marc Raffray	Marc Raffray	...	Nice French Waiter
French Exit is a strange film, but the strangeness is a large part of its charm.  The movie has a decidedly dark, dry sense of humor that will bring a smile to your face the moment after you cringe.  And this is sold by the fantastic cast, particlularly Michelle Pfeiffer.  She is magnetic as the socialite Frances Price, with a quirky character that does so many unnatural things while making them seem perfectly normal.  I loved her character's strange mannerisms, quirks, and the unapologetic view of life.  Pfeiffer brings so much to this role; she fully emobodies Frances and her charming, cunning, and conniving personality.  Pfeiffer controls every scene she is in and thankfully that is most of them.  I just couldn't get enough of her character!  Lucas Hedges is also enjoyable as her son Malcolm, although he has a decidedly less quirky character.  He does have to deal with his mother's strange activities and outbursts, and Hedges is the perfect foil to Pfeiffer.  Much more reserved but also quite enjoyable to see, the pair have a great chemistry and a wonderful comfort on screen.  

And although these actors bring some amazing performances, they are fueled by this sharp, witty, and dark script.  I love the dialogue and kept wanting to hear more.  The frank conversations that Frances and Malcolm have, as well as the enjoyable and blunt discussion with other characters really propel this film forward.  And on top of the great dialogue, the film also has fantastic cinematography.  The shot choice and placement of the camera are perfect, and the film has a lot of slow pan shots that give you a sense of the French part of the French Exit while also highlighting important details to the viewer.

The story of French Exit goes is a slow burning one.  Like a great play, the film doesn't have a lot of action, mostly consisting of conversations between the various characters that come in and out of Frances and Malcolm's lives.  The majority of the film takes place in Frances's borrowed apartment, with forays into the city.  And the film also goes to some strange places, but I loved following it there.  It has a little bit of mysticism, some relationship drama, and a  whole lot of charm. And these stranger parts of the story allow for some additional characters to enter the film.  However, although I really loved pretty much everything about this film and it's quirky set of characters, it did feel like there could be some more diversity in the cast.  

The dry, dark comedic style, wonderful dialogue, and quirky cast of characters fueled by Pfeiffer's magnetic performance make French Exit a film worth staying for.

Watch it.

Marc Raffray	...	Nice French Waiter Marine Chard	Marine Chard	...	School Girl #1 Charlotte Hoepffner	Charlotte Hoepffner	...	School Girl #2 Younes Bouab	Younes Bouab	...	Brave Man in Paris Park Deen Abboud	Deen Abboud	...	Man Who Takes Cash in Park Nikola Masri	Nikola Masri	...	Wine Clerk Jelena Djukic	Jelena Djukic	...	Cashier Stéphane Boucher	Stéphane Boucher	...	Man in Alley Rest of cast listed alphabetically: L. Fernando Becerra Sánchez	L. Fernando Becerra Sánchez	...	Waiter (uncredited) Serge Martineau	Serge Martineau	...	Dead Body on Ship (uncredited)     Norman Denver	...	line producer Olivier Glaas	...	producer Christine Haebler	...	producer Azazel Jacobs	...	executive producer Vincent Maraval	...	executive producer Laurie May	...	executive producer Darrin Navarro	...	executive producer Thorsten Schumacher	...	executive producer Noah Segal	...	producer Mel Ward	...	executive producer Christina Piovesan	...	producer Trish Dolman	...	producer Katie Holly	...	producer Lars Sylvest	...	executive producer Stuart Manashil	...	executive producer Ian Cooper	...	executive producer Matt Aselton	...	executive producer Patrick DeWitt	...	executive producer Adrian Love	...	executive producer Marc Marrie	...	executive producer  Directed by  Azazel Jacobs	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Patrick DeWitt	...	(based on the book by) Patrick DeWitt	...	(written by)
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French Exit is available in theaters nationwide on April 2, 2021.  For showtimes, click here

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