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MOVIE REVIEW: Mademoiselle Chambon

Stinker alert! Don't bother with this rude French flop

Mademoiselle Chambon: Rates an F
Courtesy photo

This movie is only playing at the Reading Gaslamp Theater. Don’t worry if you miss it. It’s awful. Don’t believe the many critics who have praised it.

It’s a French film, and they don’t have the best batting average the last decade when it comes to film.

The story is about a married couple, with the man falling for his son’s teacher.

The slow pacing and awkwardness of the characters make us not really care about what happens.

The facial expressions make me wonder what the director or actors were even trying to convey.

Sometimes we get a scene with the teacher watching the man fix the window, standing a little close and with a look on her face that has us anticipating what paths this will go down. It just takes so long to get there, and nothing along the way is that interesting.

When he gets the red-head to play the violin for him, it lacks any passion. And it reminded me how much I loved The Red Violin.

Really, how hard is it to make a powerful scene when someone is attracted to a person playing a beautiful piece of music? I can name 10 movies off the top of my head that do that brilliantly.

Another scene has the man watching her play violin as the wife catches the look on his face – I preferred a similar scene in the much better Prince of Tides. Had the husband shown just a tad of desire or enthusiasm in his face for the first time – instead of the same look he had the entire movie -- maybe the scene would’ve packed a punch. Instead it falls flat.

Not only does the protagonist in this movie creep me out, I thought everyone in this movie was rude. It was a subtle rudeness. The way people talked to teachers, their spouse, or anyone. There was no smiling, no thanking a person for doing something nice…it makes me wonder if this is why Americans consider the French so rude. They might just have a completely different way of communicating with each other. If this movie conveyed the way it is, I probably won’t be taking any trips to the city of light.

For a movie about two star-crossed lovers, it sure lacks passion. The first kiss is bizarre and the scene where they finally make love (more than an hour into the film), is just plain weird.

I was ready to give up on the movie 40 minutes into it. I wasted the next hour riding it out.

This is the first F I’ve given in a long time. I’m wishing I could’ve been like a teacher and just stopped 40 minutes in and given an “incomplete” instead.