French Film Reviews: Monsieur & Madame Adelman

French Film Reviews: Monsieur & Madame Adelman

What truly went on behind the scenes of the Adelmans’ toxic 40-year marriage? Don’t ask us. We’re as much at sea now as when the end credits rolled. Narrated confession-style by the eminently unreliable Sarah Adelman, the twisty-turvy romp chronicles the stellar rise of her husband and revered French author Victor.

An egomaniac forever whining to his psychiatrist about his penis size (as all great men are wont to do), the budding writer seems to be going nowhere fast until he crosses paths with Sarah, a brilliant Ph.D. student who falls head-over-heels for him and throws herself wholeheartedly into the task of making him the next Albert Camus. She even allows him to use her Jewish last name to sign his first novel (about Holocaust survivors).

Swiftly hailed the French Philip Roth and handed the prestigious Prix Goncourt, Victor becomes a literary paragon while his sidelined muse lingers in the shadows. Cue cruelty and infidelity as the vicious (and grating) pair navigate the trappings of fame and take twisted pleasure in pushing each other’s buttons.

Panned by critics as self-indulgent, Nicolas Bedos’s directorial debut certainly revels in wrong-footing gullible viewers. The final reveal gloriously pulls the rug out just as we thought we’d gleaned a sliver of truth – making this sinuous (and hugely addictive) tale all the more captivating!

Highly recommended.

Film: Monsieur & Madame Adelman
Director: Nicolas Bedos
Starring: Nicolas Bedos, Doria Tillier
Running time: 120min

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From France Today magazine

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