Madame: DVD Review
Trying to blend Cinderella with an attempt at insight into a decaying marriage doesn't quite reap the rewards it should for Amanda Sthers writing and directorial attempt, Madame.
Holding a dinner party for the London Mayor in Paris, pressed Anne (Collette, tart and relatively convincing as haughtiness gets the better of her) forces her maid Maria (de Palma) to step in as one of the guests, fearing 13 at the table is an unlucky number.
But thrust into a world she can only comprehend through servitude, Maria catches the eye of the family art appraiser (Smiley, a welcome presence on screen and a sign that Europe has a differing eye on romantic leads).
As the two grow closer, the lies have to be maintained, but Anne finds her tolerance for the charade shrinking as Maria finds her heart opening to he possibilities of love and life beyond her downstairs role.
Sthers may scatter her film with contemporary references such as Brexit and Aung San Suu Kyi but her attempts to make something timeless sees her hoist by her own petard.
Madame is not a film that feels for farce or grasps at depth; it feels in some ways incomplete and woefully undercooked in places. Certainly an ending frustrates, even if some may consider it inherently French.
The trouble is that while Sthers peppers her film with the French approach to offering both unconventional romances their time in the sun and some kind of commentary on what makes France so appealing, its deployment fails to engage and indulge either the sense or the heart.
Ultimately, Madame is more a film that starts off familiar, offers fresh eyes on a tired story but then fails to utilise its differing USP for anything other than the fanciful.