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Looking for Hortense (Cherchez Hortense)

Looking for Hortense (Cherchez Hortense) (2012)

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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 1

audience

35

want to see
User Ratings: 147

My Rating

Movie Info

This film is a bittersweet 'comedie de moeurs' that is French in spirit but universal in appeal. Damien, a Chinese civilization professor, lives with his partner, Iva, a stage director, and their son Noé. The couple's relationship has drifted into routine that has drained it of love. Damien finds himself trapped one day by Iva, who orders him to ask his father, a senior member of the French Council of State, for help in preventing Zorica, a woman Iva knows, from being deported. But Damien and

Unrated,

Drama, Comedy

Pascal Bonitzer, Agnes de Sacy

Cast

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (8)

Kristen Scott Thomas wanders back from time to time to taunt us with what could have been.

August 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though beautifully filmed and impeccably acted, the story is just too French, domestic and dull to light the fires of conflict.

September 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

The problem is that it's impossible to care about the dull man at the centre when he's surrounded my much more colourfully eccentric characters.

September 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

An uneven film with occasional moments of genius.

August 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

It's like a Haneke plot turned into a comforting boulevard play, but it's subtly observed and extremely well acted ...

August 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Bonitzer is a lithe, literate writer who has penned screenplays for greats such as Jacques Rivette and André Téchiné but it seems he doesn't save his best ideas for himself.

August 9, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

As though aliens picked up a random Francophone VOD channel and regurgitated their own Scary Movie version of the worst bits back at humankind.

August 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

The performances are tart and tannic, ensuring the film goes out with a graceful dying fall.

August 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

At once contrived and jerry-constructed.

August 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

The movie dawdles on, tying its loose ends into a limp knot, but when passive-aggressive text messages are the closest you get to dramatic friction, it's hard not to feel as though there's something missing.

August 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Forget Hortense, we're still looking for the plot.

August 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Watchable French drama with a strong script and superb performances from Jean-Pierre Bacri and Kristin Scott Thomas, though the unfocussed plot is ultimately a little underwhelming.

August 8, 2013 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

There's a dream-like quality to this nimble-footed tale, in which coincidences, repetitions and digressions abound, and where various characters appear seemingly magically within scenes.

August 7, 2013 Full Review Source: The List
The List

Jean-Pierre Bacri gives a pitch perfect performance as an academic who understands the cultural minutiae of the Orient, but cannot fathom his own loved ones.

August 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

A lecturer (Jean-Pierre Bacri) gets embroiled to a fight to stop the deportation of a Serbian woman. Kristin Scott-Thomas (right) reprises another of her chilly wife roles.

August 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Scotsman
Scotsman

A pleasingly intelligent picture.

July 30, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Audience Reviews for Looking for Hortense (Cherchez Hortense)

Damien (Bacri) lectures on Asian culture to French business types looking to gain an advantage in cracking that burgeoning market. His partner, Iva (Thomas), is a theater director in the midst of conducting an affair with her latest production's leading man. When Iva asks Damien to speak to his father (Rich), a judge, about repealing an expulsion order for a friend of her brother, Damien agrees reluctantly. Estranged from his father, fulfilling Iva's request becomes increasingly difficult for Damien, who in the process befriends Aurore (Carre), a young woman who works in a restaurant next door to a bookshop he frequents.
The basic set-up of Bonitzer's film is reminiscent of the type of scenario Larry David might spin for an episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'. Stretched out to 100 minutes, however, this simple idea quickly becomes a test of patience, particularly given the poor, dated comedy on show. Bonitzer appears completely out of touch with modern society, mining jokes from topics like homosexuality and immigration as if he were a staff writer on a seventies British sitcom. A scene where Damien wakes up after a night of heavy (or, rather, heavy by French standards) drinking with a young gay Japanese waiter in his bed scales new heights of misjudgement.
Had he gone for a straight drama, instead of opting for cheap laughs, Bonitzer could have given us an intriguing film. Bacri is great as the put-upon Damien, as is Thomas, albeit short-changed in her role. The female characters in this film are all woefully written (and all seem to suffer from a nicotine addiction). Iva is the stereotypical cheating wife while Aurore is little more than a young damsel in distress, inexplicably waiting for an aging, out of shape knight like Damien to save her. Despite resembling an alcoholic butcher, Damien is apparently irresistible to young women, and indeed young men.
Perhaps the title 'Oh Grandad! The Movie' would be better fitting for the out of touch Bonitzer's latest?
August 4, 2013
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Foreign Titles

  • Looking for Hortense (Cherchez Hortense) (DE)
  • Looking for Hortense (UK)
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