The French Minister (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

The French Minister (2014)

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Alexandre Taillard de Vorms is tall and impressive, a man with style, attractive to women. He also happens to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the land of enlightenment: France. With his silver mane and tanned, athletic body, he stalks the world stage, from the floor of the United Nations in New York to the powder keg of Oubanga. There, he calls on the powerful and invokes the mighty to bring peace, to calm the trigger-happy, and to cement his aura of Nobel Peace Prize winner-in-waiting. Alexandre Taillard de Vorms is a force to be reckoned with, waging his own war backed up by the holy trinity of diplomatic concepts: legitimacy, lucidity and efficacy. He takes on American neo-cons, corrupt Russians and money-grabbing Chinese. Perhaps the world doesn't deserve France's magnanimousness, but his art would be wasted if just restricted to home turf. Enter the young Arthur Vlaminck, graduate of the elite National School of Administration, who is hired as head of "language" at the foreign ministry. In other words, he is to write the minister's speeches. But he also has to learn to deal with the sensibilities of the boss and his entourage, and find his way between the private secretary and the special advisors who stalk the corridors of the Quai d'Orsay - the ministry's home - where stress, ambition and dirty dealing are the daily currency. But just as he thinks he can influence the fate of the world, everything seems threatened by the inertia of the technocrats. (C) IFC Films

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Cast

Thierry Lhermitte
as Alexandre Taillard de Worms
Raphaël Personnaz
as Arthur Vlaminck
Niels Arestrup
as Claude Maupas
Bruno Raffaelli
as Stephane Cahut
Julie Gayet
as Valerie Dumontheil
Thomas Chabrol
as Sylvain Marquet
Thierry Fremont
as Guillaume van Effentem
Marie Bunel
as Martine
Didier Bezace
as Jean-Paul Francois
Jean-Marc Roulot
as Bertrand Castela
Sonia Rolland
as Nathalie
Jane Birkin
as Molly Hutchinson
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Critic Reviews for The French Minister

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (9)

There are enough moments of inspired lunacy to make this worthwhile.

Full Review… | April 10, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The films of Bertrand Tavernier have often been fringed with humor, of a rueful kind; now, in his seventies, and in a rousing rebuke to tranquillity, he has turned to farce.

Full Review… | March 31, 2014
New Yorker
Top Critic

Maybe the problem is that Tavernier has made a French comedy-but not a very universal one.

Full Review… | March 21, 2014
RogerEbert.com
Top Critic

Mr. Tavernier's filmmaking here is loose, almost casual, and you may not always notice what he's doing with the camera as he frames the ministry's choreographed chaos with its whirling people and parts.

Full Review… | March 20, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

In the first comedy of a 40-year career that includes A Sunday in the Country and The Princess of Montpensier, director and co-writer Bertrand Tavernier tries to do too much.

Full Review… | March 20, 2014
NPR
Top Critic

It's pleasant, and at times very funny, but the meandering episodes mean that despite the long running time, the satire never builds to a payoff.

Full Review… | March 19, 2014
New York Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The French Minister

A rather bland political film, where the supposedly knowledgeable foreign minister of France deals with cliché issues such as "war in Middle East" and "aggressive US imperialism" without getting into any specifics. I give it three stars because the level of artistic quality in this film is quite decent.

Thomas Andrikus
Thomas Andrikus
½

Somehow, this film reminds me of a French version of In The Loop. I don't think this film comes close to that, but I'm somewhat reminded of it. I quite liked this film however with its lunacy and chaotic approach to these group of people trying to do whatever they can in order to avoid setting off a third world war, it's clear this film is set prior to the start of the Iraq war in 2003, but the names of some of the countries are fictionalized. The film also satirizes the fact that Taillard isn't really the brains of the operation but Claude is and Taillard is really more of a figurehead, a charismatic leader in troubled times. The scene that highlights this the most is the scene where Claude is making phone calls in order to avoid setting off a conflict between countries while, at the same time, Taillard is complaining about the highlighters he is given not being good enough. I don't think I'm doing justice to this scene because Taillard goes on an rant of epic proportions. He will just not shut up about his highlighters. There's also another scene that highlights this, but this time Taillard isn't ranting about anything incredibly stupid, so it's not as memorable. But Taillard, with all his grandstanding, his lunacy, the chaos he causes around him, sending papers flying EVERY time he comes in the room, isn't exactly a useless man with no leadership capabilities. He calms down a potentially volatile situation with his charisma and presence, and also chooses to help Vlaminck to help save a family that is about to be expelled/deported (I don't know which) from his girlfriend's school. So he's not entirely useless. The film is certainly satirical, it shows off the completely chaotic world that Vlaminck finds himself in, the chaos that goes along with that sort of job. And I can somewhat imagine it being like that, which is why I wonder why ANYONE would take a job that's clearly very stressful. Going all over the place, having to redo a speech 15 times because Taillard isn't satisfied with it, the stress that must come along with being in power as a war is about to start and how you do everything to keep that from happening. Quite a stressful job. The acting is excellent, Thierry Lhermitte, as Taillard, absolutely steals the show in literally every scene he appears in. He was incredibly convincing in the role and he just has that presence that makes him a believable politician in the film. The rest of the cast is quite good actually, but this is all about Thierry Lhermitte and he certainly delivers the goods. I can't really complain about the film, it offers some really good laughs, but I think it drags a little bit in some parts. Outside of that, this is a very good political satire. Perhaps not quite In The Loop, but pretty damn good regardless.

Jesse Ortega
Jesse Ortega

Super Reviewer

½

Putting its French political backdrop aside, still quite an amusing office-scenario piece, with the over-the-top but catchy performance by Thierry Lhermitte.

WS Wu
WS Wu

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