My Night at Maud's (Ma Nuit chez Maud)

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95%

TOMATOMETER

Reviews Counted: 19

87%
liked it

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,374

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AUDIENCE SCORE

87%
Average Rating: 4.1/5

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The "my" in My Night At Maud's belongs to the protagonist played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, a Catholic engineer whose struggle with his faith is renewed when he falls instantly in love with a woman he's never met (Marie-Christine Barrault) while attending mass. A chance meeting with an amoral old friend (Antoine Vitez) the same night places him in a potentially compromising situation when he's forced to spend the night with Vitez's alluring acquaintance Maude (Françoise Fabian), a sophisticated woman who challenges Trintignant's belief through intellectual and fleshly means. ~ Keith Phipps, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for My Night at Maud's (Ma Nuit chez Maud)

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (5)

Audience Reviews for My Night at Maud's (Ma Nuit chez Maud)

There are nights and conversations we remember more than whole years. To Jean-Louis, finding a woman like Maud, by pure chance, was a miracle. The miracle of coming clean, stripping his soul, putting aside morals that were detouring him from finding not a perfect match to marry, but another real, flawed human being to start a romance for as long as it takes. The night he spend with Maud, made him gain enough courage to approach the girl he desired. Maybe he could have had something with Maud, if circumstances would allowed him, because passion, admiration and understanding, they had already found all that in each other.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

My first Eric Rohmer film. The Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art showed a film print of this from Europe. The movie takes its time showing the simple life led by Jean-Louis (Trintignant) in 60's France. He browses for books at a bookshop. He drives around the narrow streets in his compact car. He attends mass where he first sees Francoise (Barrault). He tries to invent ways to casually run into her. Is he just looking for a one night stand, or from this "love-at-first-sight" thing do we believe that he really wants a more long term relationship? His motivations early on are mysterious. Jean-Louis is interrupted from his norm by a chance meeting with an old college buddy, Vidal (Vitez). Vidal knows this recently divorced woman, Maud (Fabian), who he is having dinner with that evening (just as friends) and he invites Jean-Louis along. Maud is a modern woman. She is divorced at a time when that was still not common. She has a daughter, does not consider herself religious and flirts shamelessly with Jean-Louis. The three adults talk on and on about philosophy, religion and relationships. It goes on a bit too long, but for the most part it kept me interested. Jean-Louis admits only a little personal information. Like Maud he doesn't really believe in all the dogmas of the church, but he cannot bring himself to give up his Catholicism all together. He also reveals that he prefers blondes (Francoise) to brunettes (Maud) and though he is talked into staying the night he tries to remain a gentleman. It is difficult for him. He sees both Francoise and Maud again. He gets more serious with one and we are treated to a surprise coincidence between the women at the end. The performances are natural in many cases as if the audience is a fly on the wall.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

for two hours of philosophical discussions between people trying not to admit they want to have sex with each other this was pretty damn good

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

½

"Pascal's Wager" suggests that if one must bet on the existence of God, it's better to err on the side that He does exist rather than He doesn't. If God exists and you don't believe in Him, you gain nothing and lose everything. If God doesn't exist and you believe in Him, you gain nothing and lose nothing. But, if God does exist, you gain everything and lose nothing. Pascal believed in hedging your bets towards the eternal afterlife. Pascal and christianity (catholicism in particular) are discussed heavily in "Ma nuit chez Maud" (My Night with Maud), but the application of Pascal's Wager in one's personal life is what the film's true purpose is. My Night at Maud's is one of director Eric Rohmer's "six moral tales" film series and centers around a 30-something man named Jean-Louis. Jean-Louis seems to live an unfulfilling life, sitting around his apartment, reading math books and attending church. At sunday mass, he sits uninspired, until a beautiful blonde sitting in the pew across from him catches his eye. She fails to notice him though, and after church service, he attempts to follow her home. He makes a pledge to himself that he will someday marry that girl. Meanwhile, he comes across Vidal, an old friend who he hasn't seen in 14 years (they meet in a restaurant that neither one frequents, and in an acute observation, the old friend tells him that since their daily paths never cross, they could only meet when diverging from them), and the two immediately strike up a conversation about Pascal. The atheist/communist Vidal seems fascinated by Jean-Louis' devote christianity, and (seemingly) unrelatedly invites him up to his friend Maud's house for a social visit. Maud is a divorced single mother who's both intellectual and openly honest. She (along with Vidal) bluntly direct the evening's conversation towards sex and it's compatibility with Jean-Louis' faith. Jean-Louis hedges his bets in love, just as he does with his faith. Rather than risk missing out on eternal reward, he lives a bland life, never engaging in anything extraneous, and rather than risk his dream of a perfect marriage, he turns his back on women who don't meet his strict guidelines. He is deeply fascinated by Maud, by her bluntness, her openness, her zest for life. But in the end, she's just a passing flirtation in his eyes, she's not catholic, she's divorced. He instead pursues the beautiful blonde from the church, the moral absolute. To him, the passion is mechanical, he woos her with the exact same words he uses on Maud the day before. The blonde reciprocates with equally mechanical romantic words. The tragedy by the end of the story is that, too late, Jean-Louis learns that all his vaunted standards don't matter very much, and love just can't be plotted out like a book. In the end he turns down the great adventure of love for the sure thing, and while he receives his great reward, it comes at the expense of knowledge in what he's lost out on.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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