The Midwife (Sage femme) (2017)


Critic Consensus: The Midwife takes a rewardingly patient approach to potentially melodramatic material, emerging with a well-acted, emotionally resonant character study.


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Two of French cinema's biggest stars shine in this bittersweet drama about the unlikely friendship that develops between Claire (Catherine Frot), a talented but tightly wound midwife, and Béatrice (Catherine Deneuve), the estranged, free-spirited mistress of Claire's late father. Though polar opposites in almost every way, the two come to rely on each other as they cope with the unusual circumstance that brought them together in this sharp character study from the César-award winning director Martin Provost (Séraphine).

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Critic Reviews for The Midwife (Sage femme)

All Critics (82) | Top Critics (20)

Predictability can be forgiven with the luminous talents of Catherine Deneuve and riveting Catherine Frot (Marguerite) as long-estranged women reunited in writer/director Martin Provost's drama.

Sep 28, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

... for the most part the veteran actresses salvage the soapy plot by playing their scenes together with a Gallic toughness.

Sep 14, 2017 | Full Review…

The main reason it does not seem contrived is the performances of Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot.

Aug 24, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Deneuve has made a career out of playing these types of eccentric arch-kooks; she could act the role in her sleep.

Aug 17, 2017 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

"The Midwife" is one of those movies that could be about anything and you'd watch, so enjoyable are its lead actors.

Aug 3, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Provost's film is, in the end, a story about attaining the wisdom that comes from forgiveness and the acceptance of those things - namely the past and the future - that none of us can control.

Jul 27, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Midwife (Sage femme)

What is there to say about this already marvellous film, made sublime by Catherine Deneuve's performance. It is an essay about people caring for one another, and how difficult but vital that is. It is an extraordinary pictorial of children being born, and of their young mothers' stories, joyous or desperate. You see babies being delivered by long experienced midwives in small local centres, soon to be replaced by hi-tech, male-dominated birthing factories. The star in the title role is Catherine Frot, who speaks the key line - someone has to say no to the money maniacs. This film combines French technical perfectionism with profound human values. Everything from the screenplay, cinematography, direction, production and supporting cast is brilliant, yet it is the emotional power of the film that is remarkable: the two aspects fusing perfectly is a rare achievement. Frot lends a precisely drawn, sustained structure to the entire film, transforming her character with it, as it ranges into big emotional challenges and life changes. Deneuve is always capable of expressing her character's entire potential; the past, present and future are woven into every moment. As Beatrice, she has a spectacular role in a great film, and she takes it effortlessly to the limits; she is the master of tinging tragedy with humour and vice versa, she fills the screen with passion and optimism, she drives the scenes; it all happens in an instant. You get caught up before you have realised it. There is simply nothing to compare.

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