I’ll admit I was slightly reticent about seeing the French movie Potiche. The paper mentioned that it had Gerard Depardieu and involved a factory with a striking union. I thought Germinal part two. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Germinal, I just wasn’t in the mood for something that heavy.)
The paper didn’t do it justice.
This film is, quite simply, delightful.
Set in the late 70s, Catherine Deneuve plays Suzanne, a provincial housewife, married to the narrow-minded Robert (Fabrice Luchini). The women’s lib movement passed them both by and Robert is convinced that a woman’s place is in the home, following her husband’s orders and having no mind of her own. If he wants her opinion, he’ll give it to her!
After Robert is taken hostage by the disgruntled workers at his factory, Suzanne steps up to negotiate his release, with the help of a former lover. With Robert declared unfit for duty, it falls to Suzanne to run the factory while he is off on a convalescent cruise. She does so with considerable aplomb and loves her new role so much she doesn’t want to give it up when her husband returns. Chauvinistic Robert doesn’t like this state of affairs and schemes to get his old job back, while her old flame tries rekindle their romance.
While the ending is a bit unexpected, and it can be a bit twee at times, this farcical romp is quite entertaining with witty dialogue and fine performances, both from the leads as well as the supporting cast.
This is a wonderfully feel-good film, and I’d recommend catching it if you can.