“French Exit”


Metacritic (7/10), Rotten Tomatoes (***+)

Admittedly, not everything works in this quirky absurdist comedy-drama, but, when it does click (which is most of the time), director Azazel Jacobs’s meditation on life, death, love, family, friendship and what matters in life delights with an impish glee. When a wealthy widow who has long been a fixture in New York high society suddenly finds herself broke, she and her adult son quietly relocate to Paris in an attempt to make a new life for themselves, despite a number of glitches that intrude on their plans. The picture’s superb ensemble cast, most notably headliner Michelle Pfeiffer and supporting player Valerie Mahaffey, coupled with its insightful and endlessly witty repartee, combine to serve up laugh-out-loud fun, as well as more than a few tender and tense moments. The film sometimes stumbles when it comes to the cohesion of its narrative, but, considering everything else it has to offer, that’s easily brushed aside merely as being part of the production’s overall eccentricity. Remember, most things French have an inherent element of absurdity as part of their character and charm, so why shouldn’t that be the case with a story set in the heart of such refined madness?