Critic Consensus: Moliere is a sophisticated, witty biopic of the great satirist.
In 1645, the French playwright and actor Jean-Baptiste Poquelin -- better known as Molière -- mysteriously disappeared for several weeks, and this lavish comedy drama imagines a scenario that could explain what may have happened to him. At this time, Molière (Romain Duris) is touring the French countryside with his traveling theater company, and he's yet to be recognized as one of the continent's great authors (or achieve significant financial success). Molière is put in jail after skipping out on some unpaid debts, but is freed after his fine is paid by two strangers. Molière discovers his benefactors are acting on behalf of Jourdain (Fabrice Luchini), a very wealthy man who has a beautiful wife, Elmire (Laura Morante) and two lovely daughters. However, Jourdain has fallen head over heels for Celimene (Ludivine Sagnier), a gorgeous widow, and he's written a short play in order to demonstrate his feelings for her. Jourdain needs someone to help him polish his script and serve as an acting coach, and he's recruited Molière for the job. Needing the money, Moliere accepts, but he poses as a man of the cloth, Monsieur Tartuffe, to keep his identity a secret. Molière soon realizes that Jourdain's talent exists only in the rich man's imagination, and that Jourdain already has a rival for Celimene's affections, the charming but duplicitous Dorante (Edouard Baer). Molière was written and directed by Laurent Tirard. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi … More
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as Marquise du Parc
as Louis Bejart
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Critic Reviews for Molière
Director and cowriter Laurent Tirard are clearly under the sway of Shakespeare in Love, but the talented Duris is miscast as the wily Moliere, and Moliere has none of Shakespeare's giddy charm.
An extravagant and thoroughly irresistible story of intrigue, romance, comedy and artistic inspiration.
Lost in the exercise is any insight into Molière's writing or any relevance to today, making his achievements seem more frivolous -- and considerably less amusing -- than they actually were.
Like the playwright's comedies, at its best Moliere shows the depths beneath the archetypes.
Witty lines, sumptuous settings, manicured lawns and horses with carriages provide the setting for this frivolous romp that caresses history as it plays with the misadventures of French playwright Molière %u2026 With just the right balance of playfulness
Deluxe tribute to the playwright gets by, surprisingly, as much by romantic poignancy as farce...it's hard to dislike a picture so in Love with its subject.
Audience Reviews for Molière
Entertaining period comedy with beautiful sets and engaging acting. It tells the story of French playwright Molière's early days, as if they were indeed as farcical as his plays. C'est très drole!
[size=3]"Moliere," starring French dreamboat [b]Romain Duris[/b] as the legendary 17th-century playwright himself, is wonderfully funny and intelligent from first moment to last, all with a light joie de vivre that seems to be part of the French DNA.[/size]
[size=3]I have heard grumblings from some critics who say that the film is simply a recapitulation of one of Moliere's plays. I can't comment on that, as I haven't read any of his work. What I do know is that this film is gorgeous, heart-felt, superbly acted and directed, surprising, witty and overflowing with life. I recommend it to anyone, except [/size][size=3]maybe to Moliere scholars, who presumably have seen it all before.[/size]
[size=3]The plot surrounds Moliere being rescued from debtors' prison by an extravagantly wealthy merchant named Monsieur Jourdain, who is striving to win the heart of a young, beautiful, well-educated Comtesse. Since he is married, this Comtesse would be his mistress. (The tradition of the mistress in France is like nothing we have in America. In France it is almost presumed that a married man would have a mistress -- or more recently, a boyfriend. Vive la France!)[/size]
[size=3]Jourdain, who is hilariously played by [b]Fabrice Luchini[/b], [/size][size=3]is hoping to captivate the ravishing Comtesse by writing a play that will impress her. [/size][size=3]Moliere is to move into Jourdain's immense chateau and tutor Jourdain without his family knowing. Moliere is to masquerade as a priest come to protect the soul of Jourdain's youngest daughter. [/size][size=3]Watching the ribald, devilish Moliere attempt to lead prayers was priceless.[/size]
[size=3]Complexities emerge when Moliere falls in love with Madame Jourdain and the erotic adventures of Jourdain's older daughter come to light. The local aristocrat also brings his own intrigues. Woven through all of it is the struggle within Moliere himself to trust his talent in all its oddness. When he tells the artistically minded Madame Jourdain that there is no such thing as comedy with philosophical depth, her response is simply and powerfully, "Then invent it." Would that all young artists had a Mme. Jourdain to inspire them.[/size]
[size=3]He does come to believe in himself, and nearly 400 years later we're still talking about him. That's pretty damn good.[/size]
[size=3]I'm sure anyone who sees this film will enjoy him or herself immensely. But I can't say it's a superior artistic accomplishment. Formally speaking, it's run of the mill. It stays completely within the established conventions of modern mainstream cinema. It doesn't show even the slightest bit of interest in charting new territory, formally or even thematically. It's a delight, but no one would call it artistically audacious. Thus I cannot rank it higher than an 8.[/size]
As someone else said somewhere, magnifique! This was like watching a Moliere play. All of the elements he later used are here. The actor disguised as a priest. The dilletante husband. The beautiful wife. The tutors for every subject then in vogue. The daughter who secretly loves the boy next door. The servants who turn a blind eye to the shenanigans around them. It's all there. As was shown at the end, after Moliere toured the countryside for many years, he returned to Paris and staged the comedic plays that this movie posits he lived during the historically unexplained absence of two years. Watch this and you may learn more about Moliere and his plays than you realize.
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