My Wife Is An Actress

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Director: Yvan Attal
Writer: Yvan Attal
Producers: Claude Berri
Yvan Attal as Yvan, Charlotte Gainsbourg as Charlotte, Terence Stamp as John
A regular Joe gets married to a famous French actress and soon realizes that life in the fast-lane ain’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Autographs hounds, fellow actors and sex scenes are only a few of the issues which start to needle the man, and it isn’t long before he’s a full-blown “jealous husband”, nabbing the train back and forth to visit his wife on the set of her next picture. Can true love survive the movie business?
Just when you thought all plotlines had been milked to death, along come the French with an original slant on the age-old romantic comedy, with a movie about a guy who has to deal with being married to a famous movie actress: fun times ensue. It’s not every day that I will laugh out loud at foreign pictures (generally because something always tends to get lost in the translation), but for anyone who loves movies as much as I do, here’s a film that’s centered around that very business, offering neat insight into the day-to-day goings-on of a popular actress, and even more insight into the day-to-day neurotic behavior of her progressively jealous husband. Yvan Attal is the man who plays the husband “on the edge” and he portrays him wonderfully. Yes, he’s a little annoying at times, a little boorish every now and again, but he’s got charm, feels like a young Pacino and Hoffman combined (with a little Woody Allen to boot) and peppers at least half a dozen hilarious one-liners out there for kicks (his body language plays into this as well). Charlotte Gainsbourg is also solid as the actress in question, as well as Terence Stamp, who shows up in a pleasurable turn as the English actor who everybody loooooves so much. The film is basically very “fluffy”, barely lasts an hour and a half, but has the romance, the many (required) beautiful shots of Paris and London, as well as comedy up the ying-yang.

Unfortunately, its “loose” attitude also hurts it somewhat (in my opinion), as the film’s final stanza sort of dwindles through a couple of very coincidental situations (somebody and somebody are making out on a sidewalk and that’s precisely when somebody’s significant other pulls up in a cab?? A little too convenient, if you ask moi) and ultimately feels a little…anti-climactic. I would have liked to have seen a more concrete resolution between the husband and wife, who seemed to be going their separate ways until suddenly…poof, well…I guess love does that to you. The movie also tosses gentle nods the way of my favorite romantic comedy of all-time, WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, and features an upbeat soundtrack as well as a couple of very memorable scenes. One sequence features an entire film crew buck naked from top to bottom (and yeah, they show penis, folks!), while another one features a stranger grilling the husband in question about how he feels about his wife, the actress, making out and “sleeping” with all of these men in the movies. A very funny scene. A more engaging second banana squad might also have made the film that much more engaging (the whole Jewish sister kvetching got old after a while). But don’t let me discourage you too much because I really did enjoy the majority of this picture, due mostly to its creative story, its two lead actors, who truly felt like they were in love and the various comedic situations. And if you’re afraid of subtitles, don’t be too scared because a good portion of this film is actually shot in English. Which reminds me, Charlotte Gainsbourg has got to be one of the most fluently bilingual people that I have ever heard in my life (and I live in a bilingual province, for God’s sakes). Good job!

Note: This film was not only written and directed by the lead actor Yvan Attal, but it’s actually very much based on his own real-life relationship with the lead actress, Charlotte Gainsbourg, with whom he has two children. It’s to note that their characters also sport their real-life names. No wonder their chemistry felt so “real”…it was!!

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian

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