My Wife Is an Actress
4 out of 5 starsMa Femme Est une Actrice
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
behind the scenes Writer-director-actor Attal and his real-life partner Gainsbourg cheekily use their own names for this thoroughly engaging (and thinly fictional) look at life behind the scenes. Yvan is a sports journalist married to the famous actress Charlotte, who is constantly pestered for autographs (and more). This isn't really a problem, until he starts thinking about all the love scenes she's required to do in films. Especially the one she's currently shooting in London opposite the notorious womanizer John (Stamp). So he hops on the Eurostar and decides to pay a visit to the set. But his timing isn't very good ... it's the day of the big love scene, and an offhanded comment by Charlotte has given the director (Allen) a very silly idea to ease her jitters.

With knowing humour and a sharp script, Attal brings us into his world wonderfully, never letting the film get out of control with inside jokes or oblique references. It's basically a series of superbly timed joke sequences, setting us up for the punchline and then moving right along. As performed by the very talented cast, the characters are very likeable, even though all of them make serious mistakes along the way. Gainsbourg is especially good in a role that's both brighter and much more energetic than we usually see her in. And a sideplot about Yvan's sister and brother-in-law (Lvovsky and Bateau) adds texture and warmth along the way. The film isn't afraid to tackle issues like jealousy and betrayal with a certain degree of seriousness, even though we're pretty sure things will all work out in the end. And amid the comedy it actually examines the nature of acting--how performers must fall in love just a little if they are to convince the audience. All of this combines to make the film bracingly natural and real--charming, sometimes provocative and frequently laugh-out-loud funny.

cert 15 adult themes and situations, language, nudity 26.Aug.02

dir-scr Yvan Attal
with Yvan Attal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Terence Stamp, Noemie Lvovsky, Laurent Bateau, Keith Allen, Jo McInnes, Ludivine Sagnier, Lionel Abelanski, Edith Perret, Roshdy Zem, Ophelie Winter
release US 12.Jul.02; UK 27.Sep.02
01/France 1h35

Happy days. Charlotte and Yvan are blissfully happy ... until Yvan starts thinking about what his wife does for a living...

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2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall