Movie Reviews

Les femmes du 6ème étage (French Movie Review)

In order to make my blog feel haute and uber-cool, I went to the Alliance Francaise’s (French Consulate, Chennai) French Movie screening of “Les femmes du 6ème étage” which translates to “The Women on the sixth floor”. And I wasn’t disappointed 🙂

This movie is a comedy. Well, light/sublime humor.

Released in 2011, the movie is set in 1962 (Paris, France). The story goes like this: The maids of a few house-owners in Paris are housed in the 6th floor of their building in pitiable conditions. A new Spanish maid, Maria comes to work in Jean-Louis’s family who runs a stocks trading company, and has a wife, two kids.

Jean-Louis is fed up of his official and personal life, and lives a mechanical existence. Once Maria comes into his house, he gets acquainted with the other Spanish maids living on the 6th floor, and starts admiring their – what seems to him to be – lively way of living. He also falls for Maria. What happens from there, is the story.

The plus points of this movie are: Interesting story, brilliant casting, believable characterization, good sense of humor (at times) and lively recreation of life in the 60s. The philosophy/message is hidden within the comedy and hence it doesn’t feel heavy. If you just want to enjoy the humorous scenes, you can.

But this movie, like most movies, tries to take advantage of the viewer’s (false) expectation of a happily-ever-after philosophy resulting from certain life-altering choices. Even though the climax ends happily and leaves the viewer with happy emotions, it’s easy to see through what the movie has omitted or shown selectively in order to make us feel so.

I am not saying this is wrong. Heck, this is the best way to make a hit movie. But a movie should give realistic insights that a viewer can take away. Even though this movie progresses brilliantly and exploits the weaknesses of the elite class, is the scenario shown in the end ideal? Does that solve every problem? Doesn’t it feel like a fairy tale?

But then, movies only reflect reality. In real life, we people believe in something being the ultimate solution for everything. And we cling on to it. That something could be marriage, certain amount of money, a house, a car, etc. But only after we attain that something, after having worked for it for many years, we awake to the reality that it doesn’t result in a happily-ever-after, after all!

Second, the characterization of the main protagonist Jean-Louis – even though I am not acquainted with French people – doesn’t seem realistic. Actually, it feels as if he is too gullible and too submissive for his age and position. Was his character created to satisfy the fantasies of a certain target audience?

However, the movie is interesting (and funny) enough to pass time pleasantly on a Sunday evening. Looking forward to see more French movies in the future. Thanks to Alliance Francaise 🙂

Destination Infinity

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