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Cherchez Hortense/Looking for Hortense


Stars: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Kristin Scott Thomas, Isabelle Carre, Marin Orcand Tourres, Claude Rich, Arthur Igual, Jackie Berroyer, Masahiro Kashiwagi, Jerome Beaujour, Iliana Lolic, Francis Leplay

Director: Pascal Bonitzer

After her acutely embarrassing pantomime-style turn sporting a blonde wig as Ryan Gosling’s maniacal mother in Only God Forgives, Kristen Scott Thomas changes her wig, speaks in French and gives an enjoyably polished performance as a Parisian theatre director and the live-in partner of Jean-Pierre Bacri’s morose professor of Chinese civilization who earns his living describing Chinese commercial practices to businessmen.

By now disenchantment and routine run through their lives, even after Scott’s affair with her leading man comes to light. Meanwhile Barci is under pressure to approach his distant father, splendidly played by Claude Rich, to ask him to use his position to keep young Serbian waitress Isabelle Carrè from being deported…

Agnes De Sacy and director Pascal Bonitzer’s screenplay is civilized, witty and sharply characterised and Bonitzer brings it to light, lively life with deceptively understated skill.

While the narrative line is a tad predictable in places, perfect playing by everyone (Marin Orcand Tourres is memorably funny as Bacri’s irritating teenage son) and there are subplots that entertain, too, notably when Rich and a waiter in a Japanese restaurant flirt and finally end up together in bed.

Alan Frank

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Arrow Films. Colour.
100 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 09 Aug 2013