Marius and Jeannette

1997 [FRENCH]

Comedy / Drama / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 68%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 1609

Plot summary

October 30, 2022 at 12:41 AM


Robert Guédiguian

Top cast

933.38 MB
French 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 41 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by DukeEman 8 / 10

A wonderful group to spend some time with and I did enjoy their company.

Set in the low economy end of Marrseilles, where a courtyard is shared by a few surrounding town houses. The main thrust of the story comes from the romance between a mother of two, Jeanette, and the security guard with a limp(!), Maruis. From them branches the relationship and friendship of the neighbours, all with their hang-ups and humour.

Reviewed by meals99 8 / 10

not hating it at the end of the hsc

It is a real achievement when you don't hate a film after studying it for your HSC. You watch it numerous times over and over without a break, and of course evermore it will remind you of the hellish end to high school. however Marius et Jeannette is a truly fabulous film and i have yet to find anyone who does not like it. the setting is so completely different to the north shore of Sydney, it ads an enchanting aspect to the film which is a real fairy tale for adults. any fan of french cinema (and just great movies in general) is sure to love this film, destined to become a classic. the small community of l'estaque and the even closer community of Jeannette and her neighbours is a perfect setting for a sweet love story.

Reviewed by Laitue_Gonflable 8 / 10

Warm-hearted working class portrait

Possible minor spoilers

I studied this film for my year twelve French studies and therefore have watched it over and over again. It's the kind of film that doesn't wear out from doing that, because the simple story and loveable characters remain as strong as ever. While it starts out slightly trite and weak, it finishes on a very high, enjoyable note, and is definitely the sort of film that can always bring a smile to your face.

Robert Guedigian is obviously a director to be interested in, simply because he has several trademarks that are never lost in his films. One is the setting, Marseille. Another is the cast, most notably his wife Ariane Ascaride who takes the lead in all of his films. The third is the working class, anti-rich sentiments which are always prominent. In Marius & Jeanette they primarily take the voice of the character of Caroline, played with much gusto by Pascale Roberts.

At the heart of this film is three different love stories between six characters who share a small and essentially quite ugly courtyard outside their homes(the place is ugly, but it's home). There's one between the communist, ex-deportee Caroline, and Justin, ex-schoolteacher and intellectual, who teaches the children of the community various things about theology and beliefs. There's the always-rowing Dédé and Monique, the former a fairly unintelligent working man who enjoys life's simple pleasures such as beer and football, the latter the ever-suffering housewife who must take care of their three children. And of course, there's the central romance between the mother of two, Jeanette, and Marius, a guard with a fake limp whom she meets at a cement works near her home.

While the romances form the centre of the story, Guedigian also makes room for plenty of other themes while he's in there. Most notably there's the communist view of the rich and the way they walk over the common man. There's a portrait of unemployment and the fragility of the working world (M. Ebrard is the greatest example of this). There's comments about death, and what happens to those who cope with it (note the fact that Marius never drinks and Jeanette never smokes). He also manages to slip in a number of fairly snide comments about Aix-en-Provence, the 'neighbour' town of Marseille, so to speak, while all the while there's Justin and his interesting theories about God and religion which he tells to Malek, Jeanette's son by a Muslim father.

But despite all these themes, it never loses track of its real point, which is the love story. And the love story is definitely the only real winner from all angles here. There can be disagreement, disgruntlement, eye-rolling at all the other issues raised, but the love story is sweet and pure. While it doesn't necessarily illustrate Guedigian's view that love stories among the rich are all about arranged marriages and dowries, it does illustrate his view that those among the poor are really about love, and its obvious and strong relations to companionship.

The film is well worth watching, and well worth a second look once you've seen it for the first time. It's smart, it's well-handled, heartwarming and extremely satisfying. Possibly Guedigian's best work. **** / *****

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