7 out of 10
Light hearted comedy of manners
Boudu is the latest remake of the play written by Rene Fauchois, directed by Gerard Jugnot (well known for his role in Les Choristes).
This classic, previously directed in 1932 by auteur filmmaker Jean Renoir (Boudu sauve des Eaux) and in 1986 by Paul Mazursky in the Americanized version (Down and Out in Beverly Hills), it retells the story of a homeless man who changes the lives of a middle class couple both for better and for worse. The most recent adaptation has antique dealer Christian Lespinglet (Gerard Jugnot) and his mistress Coralie Fischer (played by newcomer Constance Dolle) finding Boudu (Gerard Depardieu) drowing in a river while driving home. After rescuing him and agreeing to let him stay for the night, Boudu's boorish behaviour turns Lespinglet's life upside down as he sleeps with his mistress and impregnates his wife.
Set in Aix-en-Provence, the ancient capital of France, it provides a beautiful backdrop for the movie. The dialogue is wonderfully witty and clever and the acting is impressive. Catherine Frot is excellent in the role of Lespinglet's long suffering, neurotic wife and the character of Boudou seems to have been written for Depardieu.
Similar to Six Degrees of Separation, the film is a commentary about the trials of conforming to the rules of middle and upper class society, which is dealt with well and in a very light-hearted fashion. In the end, Lespinglet forgives Boudu, renews his relationship with his wife and finds new meaning and value in his life.
Although Depardieu's performance is at times over the top, it is overall, a fun movie and excellent remake, with both dark comedic moments and wonderful social commentary.
Film Critic: Jenny M Lillies