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Potiche (2011)

tomatometer

91

Average Rating: 6.9/10
Critic Reviews: 33
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

61

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 3,971

My Rating

Movie Info

Set in 1977 in a provincial French town, POTICHE is a free adaptation of the 1970s eponymous hit comic play. Catherine Deneuve is Suzanne Pujol, a submissive, housebound 'trophy housewife' (or "potiche,") who steps in to manage the umbrella factory run by her wealthy and tyrannical husband (Fabrice Luchini) after the workers go on strike and take him hostage. To everyone's surprise, Suzanne proves herself a competent and assertive woman of action. But when her husband returns from a restful

R,

Art House & International, Comedy

Jul 19, 2011

$1.6M

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All Critics (112) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (93) | Rotten (19) | DVD (3)

It's as light and soft as a pink satin pillow, and a little overstretched, but it's also packed with bawdy zingers and pointed political barbs.

June 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Potiche" is a frothy French confection, a sort of île flottante of movies.

June 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Comment (1)
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film is still worth watching, and the one fabulous reason why can be summed up in two celebrated words: Catherine Deneuve.

May 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A charming diversion from Ozon's more serious films of late.

May 12, 2011 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a cheeky female revenge fantasy that plays out even in the casting.

April 28, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Potiche is a French sex farce with a time warp feminist message that's more odd than entertaining or enlightening.

April 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Even though we don't really care about the dialogue or script at times, it's easy--and fun!--to be distracted by the pretty pictures.

August 15, 2013 Full Review Source: The Playlist
The Playlist

Deneuve and Depardieu -- daft and funny and feather light

January 12, 2013 Full Review Source: McClatchy-Tribune News Service
McClatchy-Tribune News Service

Deneuve's performance and the artistic design make this film work, despite shortcomings in humor and plotting.

February 11, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Catherine Deneuve continues her run as world cinema's most gracefully aging actress.

January 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Writer
Cinema Writer

...a failed farce that seems unlikely to please even Ozon's most ardent fans...

July 31, 2011 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

...rose-tinted, sun-dappled flashbacks and clever use of split-screens and slow-zoom dramatic reveals add to the fromage and homage factor to '70s TV.

July 4, 2011 Full Review Source: Flicks.co.nz
Flicks.co.nz

Some of the scenes are a bit stilted whenever the film betrays its theatrical roots. And the wordy script means you'll be reading a lot of subtitles if your ears can't keep up with the dialogue.

June 24, 2011 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Ozon ... attacks his material with huge zest, playing up kitsch elements but never losing sight of more serious points.

June 22, 2011 Full Review Source: Uncut Magazine [UK]
Uncut Magazine [UK]

A blend of boulevard farce, 1970s sex comedy and political satire. Deneuve responds to the challenge magnificently and with a glint of mischief.

June 19, 2011 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

A hugely enjoyable French farce with a witty script and terrific performances from Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu.

June 18, 2011 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

Deneuve's combination of dignity and a determined ordinariness is just right, while Depardieu's lovelorn political beast is equally watchable.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Catherine Deneuve is on magnificent form -- singing and dancing! -- in François Ozon's comedy of female emancipation in the 1970s.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

Told with sly humour and eye-catching period detail, Potiche offers frothy fun underpinned by some astute observations about the dawn of feminism and the seismic changes in French society at this period.

June 17, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Ozon's film has its winking way with Deneuve, and she winks right back at it: she's funny, loose and charming, but also aptly exasperated, and there's room for a strain of melancholy .

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

It is a period pastiche executed with brilliant attention to detail and a weird, suppressed passion, like a sitcom in a bad dream.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

A warm-hearted story of a woman's rise in a man's world belies a biting satire.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Ozon recalls the mild farce and mannered drawing-room comedy of an earlier era of French cinema.

June 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The film is a proscenium confection that has somehow wandered into a projection beam: minor, but nice if you're in the mood.

June 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

A liberating giggle with a prominent French slant that stands out ... It's nuances and farcical antics make for an instant light and frothy crowd-pleaser.

June 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Real.com

Audience Reviews for Potiche

French performers Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu are two household names in their native France but also familiar with English speaking filmgoers. Basically, they've been around and have delivered an incalculable amount of great performances throughout their careers. This is a film that brings them both together (although not for the first time) and serves as a reminder of how skilful and commanding they are on screen.
Suzanne Pujol (Catherine Denueve) is a "Potiche" - a decorative, trophy wife - who runs a household, while her husband Robert (Fabrice Luchini) runs the family umbrella factory and philanders with his secretary. A workers strike breaks out which leads to Robert having a heart attack and while he recuperates, Suzanne reluctantly takes control of the family business with her two adult children. However, Suzanne is more shrewd and clever than given credit for and she manages to regain the trust of the workers and turn the fortunes of the business around while steadily gaining respect from numerous corners of society including Maurice Babin (Gerard Depardieu), the influential Mayor.
It takes a little time to work up to "Potiche" as it's very dialogue driven. So much so, that it's quite difficult to keep up with the subtitles and it's constant stream of verbal exchanges. However, it's confidently handled and when it does get going it throws in many facets of an individuals life and the complexities and challenges that life throws at us all.
Where it's strengths lie is in it's perfectly pitched commentary on the struggle that women faced throughout the 1970's in order to achieve the same equality as men. Denueve's Suzanne Pujol is the perfect embodiment of a woman hanging up her apron and reclaiming her respect and dignity. It also shows a balance between the strength and vulnerability involved in such a time; on the surface, Suzanne is seen as weak yet she grows in confidence and even considers divorcing her husband. Meanwhile, her daughter Joëlle (Judith Godrèche) is seen as strong and independent yet ultimately can't bear to be alone. One of the few decent male figures is Suzanne's son, Laurent (Jérémie Rénier). He's a prominent supporting character and even though he's male and serves as his mothers rock, he seems to carry a certain femininity. This is one of the many clever little devices that provide this film with an astute commentary of the politics and the cognitive shift between the sexes during the 1970's.
The only issue I had was the pacing; despite the wonderful story, quirky humour and solid performances, it fails to completely hold your attention. This is a small gripe but still one that I couldn't ignore. If it delivered itself with a bit more urgency, then this would have been top class.
A subtly handled little dramatic comedy that manages to incorporate many facets of life and has a sumptuous rendering of the 70's era. It could have been tighter but it's still a lot of fun.

Mark Walker
June 16, 2013
MrMarakai

Super Reviewer

Even if there is nothing really special in this light comedy, this is still a very pleasant and funny film thanks to Deneuve and Depardieu, who both shine together (as usual) in an amusing story.
August 15, 2011
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

A really charming and colourful comedy which shows that a 67-year-old Catherine Deneuve has lost none of her star power.
July 8, 2011
Matheus Carvalho

Super Reviewer

A trophy wife proves unexpectedly competent when she takes over her husband's umbrella factory while he recuperates from a heart attack. Well made, in a film style appropriate to the late 1970s setting, but it's so lightweight, fluffy and nostalgic that you wonder if there was any point to it all beyond keeping Catherine Deneuve busy.
May 5, 2011
366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

    1. Suzanne: My management style is warm, fair, human.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Suzanne: How did it go with the German buyer?
    2. Babin: Get off my back, Suzanne.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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Foreign Titles

  • Das Schmuckstück (DE)
  • Potiche (CA)
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