The thrillingly incongruous image of Catherine Deneuve, the long-reigning queen of French cinema, in curlers and a cherry-red track suit is just one of the many delights in François Ozon’s 1977-set comedy, a very loose adaptation of a boulevard-theater production. The film’s title translates as “trophy wife,” the position that Deneuve’s Suzanne Pujol has held for decades in her loveless marriage to philandering umbrella-factory owner Robert. When labor unrest causes the high-strung Robert to suffer a collapse, the intrepid Suzanne steps in, endearing herself to the workers and rekindling a romance with a Communist ex-lover and union liaison, Babin. Much as he did in his 1950s-set film 8 Women, Ozon creates a stunning period piece, perfectly re-creating the 1970s through costume, hairstyle, décor, and music, epitomized in Suzanne and Babin’s outing at a disco. But above all, Potiche is a showcase for the formidable talents of Deneuve, whose comic timing proves just as impeccable as her dramatic delivery. As Suzanne breaks free of her coddled life, she realizes, just like many other women who discovered feminism in the 1970s, that the personal really is political.

“Deneuve, in a pitch-perfect perf, gently oscillates between [Robert and Babin]… and the extremes they represent. She carries the whole movie here with grace, showcasing her flawless comedic timing and dramatic acting chops without any visible effort.”
Boyd van Hoeij, Variety

François Ozon

François Ozon. Adapted from the play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Grédy.

Suzanne: Catherine Deneuve
Babin: Gérard Depardieu
Robert: Fabrice Luchini
Nadège: Karin Viard
Joëlle: Judith Godrèche
Laurent: Jérémie Renier

GENRE Comedy
PRODUCTION France, 2010
FORMAT(S) 35mm, Blu-Ray, DCP, Digibeta, DVD

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