Potiche

2011

Potiche

Critics Consensus

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83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 116

61%

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User Ratings: 4,092
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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 cruise in top form, things get complicated. Gérard Depardieu plays a former union leader and Suzanne's ex-beau who still holds a flame for her. Acclaimed writer-director Francois Ozon ("Swimming Pool," "Under the Sand," "Time to Leave,") who had previously directed Ms. Deneuve in the international hit "8 Women," twists the original play on its head to create his own satirical and hilarious take on the war between the sexes and classes. POTICHE reunites French cinema legends Catherine Deneuve and Gérard Depardieu in an ensemble cast that includes comic greats Fabrice Luchini and Karin Viard (as Luchini's secretary and mistress,) while Judith Godreche and Jérémie Renier play the Pujols' entitled daughter and sexually ambiguous son. The impeccable 1970s era set design and costumes, were created by Katia Wyzkop and Pascaline Chavanne, respectively. -- (C) Music Box Films

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Critic Reviews for Potiche

All Critics (116) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (96) | Rotten (20)

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

    Jun 17, 2011 | Rating: 3/5
  • Catherine Deneuve is on magnificent form -- singing and dancing! -- in François Ozon's comedy of female emancipation in the 1970s.

    Jun 17, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • 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 .

    Jun 16, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It is a period pastiche executed with brilliant attention to detail and a weird, suppressed passion, like a sitcom in a bad dream.

    Jun 16, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • A warm-hearted story of a woman's rise in a man's world belies a biting satire.

    Jun 16, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The film is a proscenium confection that has somehow wandered into a projection beam: minor, but nice if you're in the mood.

    Jun 15, 2011 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Potiche

  • Jun 16, 2013
    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
    Mark W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2011
    A engageing story, set in the late 70s, and following the trophy wife of the title, here we get to know her and her family during the family owned factory and its labour disputes, as the uncareing husband to her falls ill, she takes over reins, something she has forgotton about since her new status, the film has plenty of light hearted moments and solid themes, it does run along nicely, even though the last third i lost a bit of interest as she further branches out, it comes off a interesting watch.
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2011
    A really charming and colourful comedy which shows that a 67-year-old Catherine Deneuve has lost none of her star power.
    Matheus C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2011
    Potiche is a 2010 French-Belgian comedy film directed by François Ozon, based on the play of the same name and it is refreshingly easy to watch. This director has rare ability to make a frothy affair with a radical streak! Catherine Deneuve is here in one of her best comic roles and Gerard Depardeieu is her foil. Two of them make this French farce exceptionally pleasant to watch! Everything is happening in 1977 in a small French town, where Suzanne Pujol lives the life of a traditional housewife, doting on her grumpy husband, Robert (Fabrice Luchini), who spends his days running her family's business into the ground with constant fights with the workers and Union. To her husband and her two grown children, Madame Pujol is a trophy housewife with no real power - in other words: UNE POTICHE! Changes are inevitable when the workers of the umbrella factory go again on strike to protest draconian working conditions. Hell breaks loose and Robert suffers heart-attack and Suzanne is left to run the company with the help of her former boyfriend, the town mayor, Maurice Babin (Gerard Depardieu). That is how the Pandora's box of deception becomes open! It is delightful, empowering and charming movie. Enjoy it!
    Panta O Super Reviewer

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