“Marguerite” – film review by Guttman

In Film, TV & Music by Aida NangleLeave a Comment

Marguerite: French film with subtitles. The time is 1921 set in an exquisite residence outside Paris. A fund raising event is occurring and the final presentation is an operatic performance by the event’s host, prostate Marguerite (Catherine Frot). We learn that Marguerite and her husband, order Georges Dumont (Andre Marcon), have been sponsoring these concerts on behalf of a music society for quite some time. The events are always private, however, a reporter has crashed this particular concert, which is a benefit for the war orphans. Lucien, the reporter (Sylvain Dieuaide), writes a review entitled “The Orphan’s Voice” and describes Marguerite’s singing as “the human truth”, also suggesting that Marguerite perform publicly.

Marguerite’s butler and driver, Madelbos (Denis Mpunga), is a key character to disguising the truth that everyone knows but Marguerite: that she cannot sing. This 128 minute film is written deftly. Directed by Xavier Giannoli who also co-wrote the screenplay with Marcia Romano. We learn at the onset of the film, that this story is based upon true events. A significant difference, however, is that the real individual was an American socialite, Florence Foster Jenkins, and not a French woman with a moniker mockingly similar to the Marx Brothers’ character Margaret Dumont. I understand a movie has been prodcued starring Meryl Streep as Jenkins, but Frot is marvelous as the clueless chanteuse. Her performance makes the film worth seeing. But really, does her voice have to be so painfully off-key?

Steven Guttman

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