La tête en friche (My Afternoons with Margueritte) (2011)
Critic Consensus: It's sentimental and treacly, but that's not enough to prevent My Afternoons with Margueritte from being truly affecting.
My Afternoons with Margueritte is the story of life's random encounters. In a small French town, Germain, a nearly illiterate man in his 50's and considered to be the village idiot by his friends at the local bistro, takes a walk to the park one day and happens to sit beside Marguerite, a little old lady who is reading excerpts from her novel aloud. She's articulate, highly intelligent and frail. Between Germain and Margueritte, there are 40 years and 200 pounds difference. Germain is lured by Margueritte's passion for life and the magic of literature from which he has always felt excluded. As Margueritte broadens his mind via reading excerpts from her novel, Germain realizes that he is more of an intellectual than he has ever allowed himself to be. Afternoons spent reading aloud on their favorite bench transform their lives and start them both on a new journey -- to literacy and respect for Germain, and to the deepest friendship for Margueritte. -- (C) Cohen Media Group … More
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as Germain's Mother
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Critic Reviews for La tête en friche (My Afternoons with Margueritte)
A sweet puff of a film, My Afternoons With Margueritte is as disarming as it is absurd.
[Depardieu] is as emblematic of his country as Tom Hanks is of ours, and "My Afternoons With Margueritte" is his "Forrest Gump." Only better.
The happy ending lays it on too thick, but what the hell: In for a dime, in for a dollar.
Audience Reviews for La tête en friche (My Afternoons with Margueritte)
An oaf (Gerard Depardieu) forms an unlikely friendship with a 95-year old woman who sees the intelligence buried inside of him. This sweet, literate character study will play well for it's target audience of little old ladies, but less well for its secondary audience of semi-literate lummoxes.
'My Afternoons With Margueritte'. Sweet, charming, filled with moments of oddball humour, and two lovable leading performances!
In Depardieu's last monologue, he said something like "it's not a typical love story, but the 'love' and 'tenderness' are there"; I couldn't agree more. For once, I wanted a happy ending, and I'm glad I got it.
As a freelance handyman, Germain(Gerard Depardieu) leads an up and down life. On the down side, there is trying to get money out of clients for a completed job, writing his name on a war memorial and living in a trailer in clear sight of his domineering mother(Claire Maurier). At least, Annette(Sophie Guillemin), a much younger bus driver who he is dating, will spend the night with him there. As far as his afternoons go, there is Margueritte(Gisele Casadesus), an elderly woman who befriends him over lunch one day in the park.
"My Afternoons with Margueritte" is a touching slice of life movie that is helped by a thoroughly lived in performance from Gerard Depardieu. As the movie states eloquently, it is about love in all of its forms, including between generations.(I still think it is weird to be called 'young man' this side of 40.) A special emphasis is given to a love of literature. For the record, Germain is not stupid, nor really slow, just uneducated, which may not be surprising considering his bad experiences with the educational system when he was growing up. And you can see what might have happened if he had a good teacher to guide him in the first place.
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