May Fools (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Louis Malle's May Fools is a lush and luxuriant look at everyday life for one family in Southern France in 1968. Milou (Michel Piccoli) is an older man who has lived his whole life with his mother on the family's estate, enjoying every aspect of rural life and quite content with his own existence. The death of Milou's mother, the family matriarch, brings the entire clan together for one weekend to settle the estate. The clan includes Milou, his daughter Camille (Miou-Miou) and her family, daughter Claire (Dominique Blanc) and her lesbian lover, as well as several others. The story centers on the reluctance of many of the family members to keep Milou living on the estate, as the family feels it is time to sell and get what money they can. Malle made a career of close-up views of peoples' lives and loves. May Fools seems to weave the smallest threads of personal behavior into a diverse tapestry of human interactions and connections. Milou attempts to show his family what can happen if a person lets life lead him instead of always trying to lead one's life. The group flees into the forest after hearing rumors that a student uprising will spill into the countryside, and here their loves and weaknesses begin to take over.
Art House & International , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Criterion Collection


as Camille
Bruno Carette
as Grimaldi
Paulette Dubost
as Mme. Vieuzac
Rozenn Le Tallec
as Marie-Laure
Renaud Danner
as Pierre-Alain
Marcel Bories
as Leonce
Etienne Draber
as Mr. Boutelleau
Valérie Lemercier
as Mrs. Boutelleau
Bernard Brocas
as The Priest
Georges Vaur
as Delmas
Serge Angeloff
as Adele's fiance
Jacqueline Staup
as Neighbor
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Critic Reviews for May Fools

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (3)

Though well acted by great French actors (Michel Piccoli), Malle's tale, set in 1968 in the countryside, is too light and trivial as family melodrama

Full Review… | December 29, 2012

Revolves around the response of a large family to the death of the matriarch.

Full Review… | January 19, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Quote not available.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Quote not available.

August 7, 2005

Quote not available.

Full Review… | January 22, 2002
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Quote not available.

January 22, 2002

Audience Reviews for May Fools


This is a mildly funny country-house romp, that is perhaps sustained by the fun it pokes at politics and naive dreams. Family death, city-heirs descend with arrogance and disdain for the country life, but are then won over by its charms. Straight forward enough, but 'Milou en Mai' goes further. After being won over by nature, the party are then bitten by nature in the wild, following a forced evacuation. After the May 1968 riots are presented with dreamy naivety, the harsh consequences and inevitable chaos come to the fore. Just as they all seem to fall in to a trance, so too they all seem to 'wake up' and life goes on as it began. But it's all pretty frivolous, in a charming enough way.

Thomas Pietsch
Thomas Pietsch

Fabulous little comedy on the aftermath of the death of a matriarch of the family. Classic Malle.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

I just love this film. Louis Malle and his cast really create the most memorable Weekend in the Country since Bergman.


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