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Moliere (2 stars)

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(12A) 120min

Your familiarity with the work of France’s most celebrated playwright may well dictate how much enjoyment you can glean from Laurent Tirard’s populist fantasy about an unwritten (and untrue) episode in the life of the great Molière. Played by Romain Duris, the king of sophisticated comedy is introduced as a frustrated artist, desperate to have his travelling troupe play something more weighty than the kind of frivolous froth demanded by his regular commissions.

A visit to the deathbed of lost love Elmire (Laura Morante) provokes Molière into a lengthy flashback which, Shakespeare in Love-style, details the circumstances which might have led him to create theatrical staples like Tartuffe, The Misanthrope and The Bourgeois Gentleman.

It’s a clever, but heavy-handed set-up which leads one to believe that Tirad, as both screenwriter and director will provide some insight into the great man’s creative process. Yet, the notion that Molière’s base materials were handed to him on a plate by circumstance proves a demeaning one. A passable costume romp, this incarnation of Molière comes over as little more than a sulky, grasping nobody, stitching up his bourgeoisie masters for no reason other than pettiness, and leaving the film as little more than a scribbled gloss on a great artist’s brilliant career.

Molière

  • 2 stars
  • 2007
  • France
  • 120 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Laurent Tirard
  • Written by: Laurent Tirard, Grégoire Vigneron
  • Cast: Romain Duris, Laura Morante, Ludivine Sagnier

A 'Shakespeare in Love'-style populist fantasy about a fictitious episode in the life of the great Molière. Duris as Molière and Morante as his lost love run through a clever but heavy-handed imagining of his circumstances and creative impetus. Though a passable costume romp, it's little more than a scribbled gloss on a…

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