Critics Consensus

Moliere is a sophisticated, witty biopic of the great satirist.



Reviews Counted: 88

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Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

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

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Romain Duris
as Jean-Baptiste Poquelin
Fabrice Luchini
as M. Jourdain
Laura Morante
as Elmire Jourdain
Fanny Valette
as Henriette Jourdain
Sophie-Charlotte Husson
as Madeleine Bejart
Arié Elmaleh
as Dancing Master
Eric Berger
as Painting Master
Anne Suarez
as Catherine de Brie
Annelise Hesme
as Marquise du Parc
Luc Tremblais
as Gros-Rene
Wilfred Benaiche
as Jean Poquelin
François Civil
as Louis Bejart
Francis Van Litsenborgh
as Notaire Dorante
Yves Robin
as Huissier Delbosc
François Toumarkine
as Huissier Missonnier
Isabelle Vitari
as Precieuse 1
Caroline Gillain
as Louison Jourdain at 21
Jean-Claude Jay
as Charles Dufresne
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Critic Reviews for Molière

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (30)

  • 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.

    Aug 24, 2007 | Rating: 2/4
  • An extravagant and thoroughly irresistible story of intrigue, romance, comedy and artistic inspiration.

    Aug 23, 2007 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Aug 17, 2007 | Rating: 2/4
  • Like the playwright's comedies, at its best Moliere shows the depths beneath the archetypes.

    Aug 16, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Woefully miscast as the seminal 17th-century French farceur Molière, the intense, black-maned young French movie star Romain Duris never seems more comfortable than the brief moments when he's rotting in a dank jail.

    Aug 10, 2007 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • In making a comedy about a writer famed for his perfectly tuned wit, the filmmakers have inspired other expectations. The result is as off-putting as biting into a confection in which the sugar has been replaced by salt.

    Aug 10, 2007 | Rating: 1.5/4

Audience Reviews for Molière

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.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"Moliere" starts in 1658 with playwright and actor Moliere(Romain Duris) leading his acting troupe to a triumphant return to Paris after perfomring throughout rural France for years but he aims to do more serious plays than his usual farces.(So, I guess you could say he was a 17th century Woody Allen, minus the space aliens.) 13 years earlier, he was not so fortunate as he was arrested for debts unpaid but is rescued by Jourdain(Fabrice Luchini), a wealthy merchant, who assumes his debts in exchange for his theatrical coaching to win the hand of Marquise Celimene(Ludivine Sagnier). At the first opportunity, Moliere makes a break for it but is simultaneously deterred by a very large dog and enchanted by Jourdain's wife(Laura Morante)...[/font] [font=Century Gothic][/font] [font=Century Gothic]"Moliere" is a misguided and awkward attempt to explore the creative process. Well, at least it looks great. Maybe, it would have helped if I knew more about the life and works of Moliere. What I can sense is that he was some kind of comic genius. Ironically, the film is at its weakest when it tries to be funny while the serious parts are not half bad, as long as they are allowed to maintain some kind of momentum. Under such conditions, a good cast can do little to help. Ludivine Sagnier comes closest to succeeding but even Laura Morante cannot shine with material like this. And it is especially strange considering Fabrice Luchini was on similar ground several years back in "Beaumarchais the Scoundrel."[/font]

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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!

Ross Collins
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer

[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][img][/img][/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][img][/img][/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]

William Dunmyer
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

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