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  • Writer's pictureFiona Prior

Michelle Pfeiffer – perfect feline grace

French Exit

Director: Azazel Jacobs

Disclaimer: I am a Michelle Pfieffer fan. I have always loved her feline grace and the way she inhabits roles: ‘Scarface’, ‘The Witches of Eastwick’, ‘Dangerous Liaisons’, ‘The Age of Innocence’…

Did anyone ever think Michelle Pfeiffer could trump her Catwoman role in Tim Burton’s ‘Batman Returns’? It appeared to be laser cut latex made for her and that feline and (in the case of ‘Batman Returns’) dangerous grace that she oozes.

Well. Trumped. Michelle Pfeiffer in ‘French Exit’ takes control of the film from the very first frame. She is playing a New York socialite widow Francis Price whose inheritance runs out before her own demise, a circumstance she finds extremely irritating.

Along with her son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), she takes up the offer of a dear friend and leaves for Paris to live in said friend’s Parisian flat, having cashed in every asset she possesses to support her new French lifestyle.

This movie is completely eccentric in a very French, bored, and charming way. The only transformative moments are when true love gazumps sensible, non-romantic partner (and parent) choices … and it must be noted that not one person in the film suggests anything as pragmatic as getting a job to alleviate the problem of fast diminishing cash as, well, really??? Quelle horreur! This is a high society satire after all!

What we have is charming ennui, an irritating lack of money, a stunning banlieue in Paris, a cat who seems to be inhabited by the spirit of Francis’ dead husband (who Francis tries to strangle), a son who has absolutely no life-skills accept to be a companion …. a clairvoyant, a detective, an eccentric neighbour and a smitten New York fiancée … and, of course, Pfeiffer.

Pfieffer’s ability to completely upstage every character and charm the rest through her thoughtless behaviour makes ‘French Exit’ brilliantly absurd.

I totally enjoyed this movie ... even without the 'meows'.

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