"Potiche" starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu--Movie Review
"Potiche" (Trophy Wife)
Potiche is a comedy of manners and politics starring Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu set in the 1970s in a small town in France where the primary employer is an umbrella factory founded by Deneuve's late father. He very considerately gave each worker upon retirement a pair of slippers, a special edition umbrella, and an autographed portrait of himself.
The factory is now managed by Deneuve's husband who is a caricature of a despotic manager and womanizing husband played by Fabrice Luchini. As the movie begins, the factory is faced with a strike as a result of Deneuve's husband's refusal to negotiate over the union's demands. Deneuve, who has been a trophy housewife for 30 years with two grown children, is pressed into service as head of the company when her husband has a heart attack after being kidnapped and held hostage by the strikers. With the aid of the socialist town mayor, Depardieu, Deneuve's husband, is released with the understanding that Deneuve would do her best to get her husband to adopt a more conciliatory approach to the union. Shortly after he comes home he has a heart attack, and Depardieu persuades Deneuve to take charge of the factory and head the negotiations with the union.
She does and quickly convinces the union representatives to end the strike and return to work with a cooperative attitude. She convinces her daughter and son to come to work beside her at the factory which they had been unwilling to do when their father was president of the company. After several months, Deneuve's husband recovers and wants his job back and for Deneuve to return to her role as a cosseted housewife. She declines to return to her former role, but her husband successfully plots to have her ousted.
Shortly after Deneuve was married, she had had a brief "encounter" with the Depardieu character and let him come to believe that he was the father of her son. She confesses that someone else, most likely the lawyer settling her father's estate, was the father of her son. This upsets Depardieu and he breaks off their relationship in which he was helping her deal with the union at the umbrella factory. Deneuve by then has begun to relish her role as a liberated woman and decides to run for mayor of the town against Depardieu.
Deneuve has put on a few pounds in recent years, but still looks quite good at age 68. Already sturdy in his prime, Depardieu appears to have gained at least a hundred pounds, but his didn't detract from his light comedic touch.
The movie was well received by the audience with much laughter at the antics of the characters and the twists and turns of the plot. Fabrice Luchini was perfect as the ultimate male chauvinist husband and tyrannical factory manager.
In French with English subtitlesR for sexual content.
3-24-11NYTimes--Potiche Review by A.O.Scott
- Movie Review - \'Potiche\' - Catherine Deneuve and Grard Depardieu in Potiche - Review - NYTimes.com
Catherine Deneuve and Grard Depardieu join forces in the 1970s-era comedy Potiche, about a trophy wife who must run the family business.