Gerard Grows in the Greenhouse
It is said that writer and director Peter Weir wrote "Green Card" with GÃ©rard Depardieu in mind as he desperately wanted to work with the French star and it shows. This movie is for the most very typical, a predictable romantic comedy about a marriage of convenience where immigration officials suspect as such, it is more romantic than most romantic comedies but not anything ground breaking or new. Yet GÃ©rard Depardieu delivering a fun, sensitive and an uncouthly romantic performance makes it come to life, makes us fall for these two people and become their champions despite it all being very obvious. Is it great? Well that is down to the individual but for me it is pleasant and a pleasant change from romantic comedies which ignore the romance in favour of cheap laughs.
BrontÃ« (Andie MacDowell - St. Elmo's Fire) needs to be married in order to move into an apartment with a wonderful greenhouse whilst Georges (GÃ©rard Depardieu - Last Holiday) needs to be married as his visa has run out and needs a green card. It is what brings them together in a marriage of convenience so they can get what they want and then go their separate ways. That is until immigration becomes suspicious and in order to get to know each other BrontÃ« has to let Georges move in much to her annoyance as initially she dislikes the laid back French man. But as they spend time together a fondness grows between them although things are never simple especially when BrontÃ« is also dating Phil (Gregg Edelman).
Take GÃ©rard Depardieu out of the equation for a moment and what you have in "Green Card" is a formula driven romantic comedy which goes through the various expectations as Lauren can't stand Georges, then she sees a sensitive side to him before falling for him and so on as it gets complicated. But there is something strangely comforting in being a familiar formula and you are left almost anticipating what you know is to come. More importantly is that whilst "Green Card" is a romantic comedy it is one of those rare movies which is genuinely romantic as we watch the warmth between BrontÃ« and Georges grow from a tiny ember into a warming blaze. The romance may be as predictable as the rest of the movie, as is the comedy, but you can feel it growing which in turn makes "Green Card" a pleasant watch, a lovely date movie.
But here is the truth, if any other actor had played the role of Georges I don't think "Green Card" would have worked, not just because writer and director Peter Weir wrote it with GÃ©rard Depardieu in mind but because it is what he brings to the character makes the movie. Depardieu has this ability to be uncouth and arrogant, but then a clown which evolves into sensitive romantic and in doing so he radiates warmth with a smile which makes you fall for him. As his debut Hollywood movie it is a great showcase for his talent allowing him to play the fool but also the romantic and no one could have done it better.
Beyond GÃ©rard Depardieu there is Andie MacDowell as BrontÃ« and there is no denying that MacDowell is lovely but we are back to the fact that "Green Card" is familiar and MacDowell's character is a familiar one. It is the same through out and all the characters with the exception of Georges are your general romantic comedy types from family, friends and suspicious immigration inspectors.
What this all boils down to is that "Green Card" is an enjoyable romantic comedy which unlike so many is not only funny but genuinely romantic. But it is because of GÃ©rard Depardieu that it works and writer and director Peter Weir has done a good job of giving the French star a Hollywood movie to showcase his talents.