MOLIERE REVIEW – Eleanor Kitchen
This enjoyable, if slightly overacted, romp through a thirteen year period of Moliere's life featuring rising star Romain Duris is a must-see for anyone who plans to study the work of this prestigious playwright in the near furture. With echoes of "Shakespeare in Love," the romantic comedy explores a mystery part of Moliere's life. After being thrown into prison for bankrupcy, Moliere was rescued by a rich merchant obsessed with a young mistress. There is only one condition to this seemingly idealistic if a little unrealistic proposal, Moliere must help the merchant to seduce his mistress by teaching him to act, whilst living under the guise of a priest. The story is further complicated as Jourdain (the merchant) is a fool and a terrible actor, his mistress, Celimente, a stuck-up spoilt brat, and his wife a beautiful woman who Moliere falls deeply in love with.
If one takes the story and historical content of this jolly little film with a pinch of salt, it will be an enjoyable rom-com which, despite offering little factual information about this part of molieres life, and being based mainly on specualtion, provides 120 minutes of delightful scenery and pantomime style acting. This said, Duris's performance stands out as a piece of genuinely heartfelt and emotional acting. His chemistry with, Jourdain's wife draws the reader into what would otherwise risk being an insincere, weak spirited comedy.
In conclusion, although not a fantastic representation of Moliere's life and times, this film certainly promises a light-hearted love story, perfect served with a warm "pain au chocolat" and a "cafe au lait!"
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