My Afternoons with Margueritte [Blu-ray]
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In a small French town, Germain (Gerard Depardieu, Cyrano de Bergerac, Potiche), a nearly illiterate man in his 50s who is considered the village idiot, takes a walk to the park and happens to sit beside Margueritte (Gisele Casadesus, Sarah’s Key), a little old lady who is reading excerpts from her novel aloud. She’s articulate, highly intelligent and frail. Germain is lured by Margueritte’s passion for life and the magic of literature from which he has always felt excluded. As Margueritte broadens his mind via reading excerpts from her novel, Germain realizes that he is more of an intellectual than he has ever allowed himself to be. Afternoons spent reading aloud on their favorite bench transform their lives and start them both on a new journey to literacy and respect for Germain, and to the deepest friendship for Margueritte.
excellent…a pleasure to watch --The New York Times
a movie of heart, soul and love --The Huffington Post
Top Customer Reviews
It's not just about the love of books, it's about the love of loves. In an age where too many movies celebrate violence and sex, this is a gentle change of pace. And let me add that Giselle Casadesus - who plays the lead character - is a sensation.
In short, AFTERNOONS is an oddly effective `coming of age' story for both the principles. Margueritte - at her advanced age - lives what's left of her days in an assisted living community, where she's holed up with her books, rarely visited by her own family. By contrast, Germain sees the world plainly, engaging in such elementary tasks as naming each of the park's pigeons he feeds based on their observed behaviors. Margueritte becomes smitten by his honest (if not poetic) simplicity, and he slowly begins to realize he may be as "simple" as he's often dismissed himself. Like in any positive relationship, the two come to understand one another in unique ways that brings greater happiness to their lives, even though others scoff at the time they spend together.Read more ›
Remember - in the 1970s and 1980s - when French actor Gerard Depardieu was a French "matinee idol"? Okay he wasn't "small" in stature but you would never consider him large. Well time passes and the actor (with almost 275 films to his credit ) is older and much larger now. But he still has that innocent face, and, in his early 60s, is still making fine films.
This low-keyed film matches Depardieu with 97-year old French actress Gisele Casadesus as an unlikely pair who meet one day in a park (literally) counting the pigeons. Depardieus's character, Germain, is a hard worker (he cultivates fruits and vegetables to sell at outdoor markets) but was a slow learner in school and can hardly read. His newly found bench mate is articulate and an avid reader and - through reading aloud to Germain - she brings a whole new world to him. Director Jean Becker uses an interesting technique to show us how the words (such as those in Camus' "The Stranger") come to life in Germain's mind.
The 83 minutes of this film go by quickly as we are drawn into the story and the actors (both veterans) make us feel for their relationship, knowing that, at age 97, Margueritte has only so much time to read. The ending is sweet and will put a tear in your eye.
My only fault in this DVD (which has no supplemental material except the theatrical trailer) is that the subtitles are in white text and are often difficult to read when the background is also white or in pale colors. (Subtitles work best when they are in green or a contrasting color or shown below the image.)
I can certainly recommend this to Depardieu fans, those who like French films or avid readers who love the printed word.
But what of Margueritte? She is an elderly woman from a local home that has a chance encounter with Depardieu in the park. They bond over pigeons, and soon their one-time meet morphs into a regular encounter. She shares her love of books with him as she reads aloud and encourages him to embrace that it's never too late too learn. As their bond deepens into a loving friendship, there are a few stumbling blocks. It's all rather predictable, but always very sweet as well. I suppose it would have been very easy for this to have turned into overly sentimental treacle, but the pace is brisk and the actors are engaging--so it's a story you want to root for even if it holds few surprises.
The fact that the movie works as well as it does is certainly a testament to the two leads. I especially thought the great Gisele Casadesus had a pleasing matter-of-factness as the aforementioned Margueritte. When she and Depardieu play off one another, it is a real delight.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Entertainment filled with comedy, inspiration, and love in every decent meaning of the word.Published 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Endearing & uplifting story. Some scenes difficult to watch, however, (spoiler alert: it all unfolds positively)Great cast & acting.Published 4 days ago by kickin'
Excellent acting, telling the story of a middle aged man (Gerard Depardieu) and an elderly woman (Giselle Casadesus) who build a friendship that gently transforms their lives.Published 6 days ago by Michael Farrell
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