The Midwife

I see so many movies that people call me up before the Academy Awards, if they’re in a pool, to ask me what will win for best foreign film. One local critic always gave me crap for not liking French films. There have obviously been some that I’ve enjoyed, but at least 80% of them are disappointing. Yet I went into this one with high expectations. You see, it’s got the two Catherine’s — Catherine Frot and Catherine Deneuve. Surprisingly, they’ve never worked together before.

Writer/director Martin Provost gave us a movie that, if there’s a Lifetime channel in France, this should’ve aired on instead.

Claire (Catherine Frot) is a kind, hardworking midwife. One day, her dead father’s mistress Beatrice (Catherine Deneuve) shows up. She likes to drink, smoke, gamble (despite having no money). Claire does none of those things. She doesn’t seem so eager to reconnect, and you’re led to believe Beatrice had something to do with her father’s suicide. It’s also odd that Beatrice doesn’t seem to know anything about it. Oh, the plot thickens. The broke Beatrice has brain cancer. That means Claire will decide to do the right thing and help her out.

Hasn’t Deneuve done this type of character enough? And the character arcs just aren’t there. Throw in the fact that it’s predictable, and not the least bit moving.

Frot gives us the fraught facial expressions. She also has a look of humanity as she deals with all the things going on at the hospital. She has just the right nuance in her look.

There are close-ups of the two that show the talent they possess, and make you wish a better movie would’ve been written for them. It might’ve worked sticking to more of those moments, or perhaps a two-woman play on a stage somewhere. In this film, we get characters that talk so much, but don’t say anything all that interesting.

It was filled with cliches, and became a monotonous bore to my wife and I.

This gets 1 star out of 5.