- Allan Hunter
- 23 May 2011
Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu star in playful French comedy
(15) 103 min
Catherine Deneuve has a gift of a role in this deliciously subversive farce from the prolific François Ozon. Deneuve is Suzanne, the ‘potiche’ or trophy wife, blithely content to be a domestic goddess in the shadow of insufferable husband Robert (Fabrice Luchini). It seems that feminism has yet to reach the distant shores of smalltown France, even in 1977. When Robert is stricken with ill health someone has to step in and take charge of the family umbrella factory. Suzanne rises to the challenge, rediscovering her power and potential to a degree that nothing will ever be the same again.
The basic plot would be sufficient to sustain a crowd-pleasing comedy but Potiche has hidden depths and unexpected layers as it revisits a time when men were chauvinists and women were about to show them who was really the boss. All the characters have their little secrets, nothing is quite as you might have expected and Ozon has a rare talent to deliver serious dramatic conflict with a tasty layer of froth. A scene that invites Deneuve to share the disco floor with town mayor Gerard Depardieu is indicative of the silliness and pure pleasure to be found in this irresistible Cinderella story.
Selected release from Fri 17 Jun.