Directed by Laurent Tirard
Written by Laurent Tirard and Grégoire Vigneron
Romain Duris as Jean-Baptiste Poquelin dit Molière
Fabrice Luchini as M. Jourdain
Laura Morante as Elmire Jourdain
Edouard Baer as Dorante
Ludivine Sagnier as Célimène
Fanny Valette as Henriette Jourdain
Mélanie Dos Santos as Louison Jourdain
Gonzague Requillart as Valère
Gilian Petrovski as Thomas
120 Minutes(Rated PG-13 for some sexual content. )
"Moliere" is flawed-far too long, pretty much unneeded in many aspects-but is mildly amusing and somewhat entertaining to make it not a complete waste, even though it over stays its welcome on many accounts. This is a ninety minute story told in one twenty, and no matter how many comedic mix-ups and gags and mistaken identities are in this bulky farce, it still didn't make me want to check my clock any less-and sadly a broken cell phone made this impossible. Of all the French films that could have been released from that country, I do not really know why Sony Pictures Classic's chose "Moliere." Perhaps they thought it would make a small fortune, but all I know is there is probably many more interesting picks from the country than this period historically fiction comedy. And having little to no knowledge about the playwright Moliere, I am sure that the screenplay was covered in "in" jokes for those that were experts. Maybe one day I can revisit "Moliere" will a new found knowledge and a new found appreciation, but until that day, this will be a rather entertaining little ditty-a mere mark-on my film history.
Excellent French superstar Romain Duris played Moliere, who, as I learned here, disappeared for a thirteen year period during 16th century Paris. This film offers an idea of where he was during that time. Arrested because he owed collectors, Moliere is taken from his acting troupe and sent to the clutches of M. Jourdain. Jourdain asks Moliere to give him knowledge of theatre and acting, because he wrote a play professing his love for the beautiful Célimène. Moliere agrees because it will clear his debt. And so he goes with Jourdain, and is told not to let his wife-Elmire Jourdain-know anything about what her husband is up to. Pretending to be Mr. Tartuffe-a priest-Moliere does not expect to end up falling for the beautiful Madam Jourdain, and the comedy of errors that stems from these few years ends up becoming the inspiration for the great plays that followed.
There are some very funny moments placed all over "Moliere," most of them involving M. Jourdain, who resorts to many different lengths to try and win Celimene's heart-one of which involves dressing up like a woman to infiltrate her home at one point. But on the whole, "Moliere" is a much too long affair with no real ultimate purpose. It's merely there and that's that. An entertaining little diversion. Romain Duris is a very talented actor, but compared to "Russian Dolls" and "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" this is not a performance to rave about. The real star is the French beauty Laura Morante, who at 51 years of age looks like she is a little older than thirty. I do wish I knew a little bit more about the playwright Moliere because I may have gotten a greater appreciation for the film-and from how the film ends I can tell that a lot of the events here are placed a little bit in his other later plays.
The technical aspects are all on target-the costumes and settings are beautiful to watch, and the visuals are there for you to gloss over. But that really is the highlight of the film, which falls a bit flat especially in the third act. I probably can recommend "Moliere" to those that have a better understanding of the playwrights background, but for everyone else, myself included in that category, it is really is just mere entertainment-a little bit of fun to pass the time, even if that time is a bit more than it should be.