Looking for Hortense (Cherchez Hortense) (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Looking for Hortense (Cherchez Hortense) (2012)

Looking for Hortense (Cherchez Hortense) (2012)

Looking for Hortense (Cherchez Hortense)



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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 his father don't get on and are barely ever in touch with each other. This dangerous mission throws Damien into a spiral that will turn his life upside down.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Agnès de Sacy, Pascal Bonitzer

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Critic Reviews for Looking for Hortense (Cherchez Hortense)

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (2)

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

Full Review… | August 8, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 22, 2013
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | September 6, 2013
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.

Full Review… | September 3, 2013
Shadows on the Wall

An uneven film with occasional moments of genius.

Full Review… | August 19, 2013
Eye for Film

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

Full Review… | August 12, 2013
Observer [UK]

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?

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