The Trophy Wife
When her father passed away Suzanne Pujol (Catherine Deneuve - The Big Picture) inherited the umbrella factory which he had built from the ground up, not that anyone would know as Suzanne's husband Robert (Fabrice Luchini) runs the business as if it was all his hard work. Robert is an arrogant man who cheats on Suzanne, something which she is aware of but turns a blind eye to as she is happy in her domestic bliss where she potters around the home, goes jogging and writes poetry. But things change when the staff go on strike and decide to take Robert hostage meaning Suzanne will have to step up to run and the business and sort the mess out, something she does by getting in touch with the mayor Maurice Babin (GÃ©rard Depardieu - My Afternoons with Margueritte) a former flame of hers.
"Potiche" which translates to "Trophy Wife" is set in France during the late 70s and it not only captures the style of the era brilliantly but also delivers the charm of cinema from a bygone era. It is such a light, bubbly comedy that it could have easily been a product of a decade earlier with Deneuve bringing a touch of Doris Day to her performance as the happy house wife.
The thing about "Potiche" is that whilst it is understandably a movie in French it is a very simple movie to follow as we watch the content Suzanne tackle running the business in the same way she floats through life with a smile on her face. It makes it fun as her innocence and charm works to sort out a mess whilst we also have the touch of romance as she comes in to touch with Maurice her former flame, a much nicer man than her arrogant husband. That doesn't mean you don't have to pay attention as if you don't speak French you need to follow the subtitles to pick up on the witty lines but at the same time there is enough visual humour, including some more modern jokes which will keep those who can't be bothered to pay attention amused.
But the truth about "Potiche" is that it is the effortless acting of Catherine Deneuve and GÃ©rard Depardieu who make it so watchable. They breeze through the movie playing very distinct characters but never make it feel like they are acting, just being the people in question.
What this all boils down to is that "Potiche" is a charming piece of French comedy which creates a nostalgic feel but really works because of the effortless charm of Catherine Deneuve and GÃ©rard Depardieu.