Potiche (2011) - Rotten Tomatoes

Potiche (2011)

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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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Cast

Karin Viard
as Nadège
Sergi López
as Spanish Truck Driver
Evelyne Dandry
as Geneviève Michonneau
Elodie Frégé
as Young Suzanne
Gautier About
as Young Babin
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Critic Reviews for Potiche

All Critics (113) | Top Critics (33)

It's as light and soft as a pink satin pillow, and a little overstretched, but it's also packed with bawdy zingers and pointed political barbs.

Full Review… | June 15, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

"Potiche" is a frothy French confection, a sort of île flottante of movies.

Full Review… | June 2, 2011
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The film is still worth watching, and the one fabulous reason why can be summed up in two celebrated words: Catherine Deneuve.

Full Review… | May 13, 2011
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A charming diversion from Ozon's more serious films of late.

May 12, 2011
Toronto Star
Top Critic

It's a cheeky female revenge fantasy that plays out even in the casting.

Full Review… | April 28, 2011
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Potiche is a French sex farce with a time warp feminist message that's more odd than entertaining or enlightening.

Full Review… | April 22, 2011
Detroit News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Potiche

½

It is nice to see that Ozon can still handle light comedies like this, and even if there is nothing really special about it, it is still a very pleasant and funny movie thanks mostly to Deneuve and Depardieu, who are both great as usual and shining together.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

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 Walker
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

A really charming and colourful comedy which shows that a 67-year-old Catherine Deneuve has lost none of her star power.

Matheus Carvalho
Matheus Carvalho

Super Reviewer

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