Named one of the "ten best films of the year" by Time Out New York, Un Air de Famille is a sharp and biting comic drama about a dysfunctional family that gets together for dinner once a week. Interactive Menus, Scene Acce... more »ss, Filmographies & Awards, Production Credits, Widescreen Presentation« less
Patrice | New york city, ny United States | 06/15/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Well, To tell you the truth, I am french !! and I can tell you something else : I saw in each personnage a member of my family !! So true, so real,.... so hard to believe..... Best part of it, the subtiles are pretty close to the french version and it is very important for this type of movie.... If you like true people ordinary life story, buy this movie !!"
email@example.com | England | 07/07/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If like me you like French films, you will like this one. There is no plot to speak of and no time wasted in car-chases and violent action sequences. There is just fascinating dialogue and the interaction of intereresting characters, plus the expression of real emotion and nuances of feeling. There is an intimacy with the characters that is typically French and which the Americans rarely achieve. At the end of the film you feel you know and understand these people and are wiser for having known them.I loved the performance of Catherine Frot in the film. She was delicious and made the character of Yolande incredibly appealing and lovable. What a crying shame she should have shackled herself to such a self-centred, unappreciative husband. He was the luckiest man alive and yet too obtuse to realize it. How appallingly sad.The high-light of the film for me was the little dance Yolande had with the quiet,philosophic bar-man Denis, played by Jean Pierre Darroussin, who, revealing his kind heart, offered to dance with her when her insensitive husband refused - despite the fact that it was supposed to be her birthday celebration. Denis's skillful dancing surprised them all, and disclosed a whole new aspect of his personality. There is a touching moment at the bar when Yolande, suspecting Betty's romantic interest and trying to encourage it, says to her with a lovely winsome expression; "He's a good dancer." And at the end of the film when Betty and Denis are seen to declare their love for each other, she says delightedly, to the chagrin of her snobbish and spiteful mother-in-law; "You know what this means? It means he's going to be part of the family.""
A refreshingly hilarious movie
A fan | United States | 06/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I borrowed the movie on VHS from my local library to "brush up" on my college French. (Don't worry, there are English subtitles.) The movie turned out to be one of the funniest and most poignant movies I had seen in a very long time.
The movie explores a dysfunctional family, and what happens when they come together for an evening dinner/family outing: two brothers (and their wives), the tomboy sister (and her secret boyfriend), and their overbearing mother who is always making barbed, hurtful remarks (in the form of being "helpful" or dispensing motherly advice.)
When they come together, all hell breaks out and the hilarity begins: heated exchanges, accusations, lie, threats, phone calls, etc. I laughed so hard and so much at this movie. It isn't raunchy Adam Sandler-humor; it's intelligent, sophisicated, non-vulgar humor. And it's refreshing.
I felt like I was watching my own family on TV. Any viewer can relate to this family because the movie isn't about French families; it's about families everywhere, especially yours, and the writing and the cast are superb. This movie is truly great.
Like an episode of "Raymond" rewritten by Edward Albee
Jethro Manjay | Carlisle, PA United States | 10/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is at the intersection of two genres: the family comedy with hilarious archetypes (the long-running "Everybody loves Raymond" CBS comedy comes to mind) and the family drama where closets are ripped open for skeletons to spill out (think "Long Day's Journey Into Night"). This clever film from a long running play makes you realize how much in common there is between a family comedy and a family tragedy. Some scenes are hanging in between, and you don't quite know whether to laugh or shudder. At the end of this movie, you have that sweaty-chilly feeling that the party has lasted too long, like at the end of "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?". Recommended, especially if you know French families."
French Comedy Has A Pungent Air
Jethro Manjay | 04/15/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A major hit in France where it took several Cesars, Cedric Klaspich's wry comedy about a contentious family who meet every Friday for dinner didn't fare so well with American critics or audiences. What a shame! This is a very entertaining ensemble piece and Klaspich's direction is so assured that the film moves along gracefully even though it's mainly set in a dingy bar on the outskirts of Paris. Jean-Pierre Bacri plays the owner of the bar and the host of the reunion with his social-climbing brother and his uptight, mousy sister-in-law (a sensational Catherine Frot), ne'er-do-well sister, and harridan mother. Bacri uses his hounddog face and weary demeanour (he looks like he hasn't slept in two months) to create a hilarous and despearate portrait of a man whose life hasn't amounted to much and who keeps getting reminded of it. He's perfectly complemented by a fine cast whose characters don't ask for our sympathy but get it anyway - Agnes Jaoui as his lonely and cynical sister, Jean-Pierre Darrousin as his ostensibly simpleton assistant and Catherine Frot as his meek sister-in-law are particular standouts (the latter two share a wonderful dancing scene together). While most films are directed to the special effects or the persona of this or that star, Klaspich has directed "Un Air de Famille" to get the actors to play off each other. And they respond by getting such jagged, funny rhythms going between them that they lift the movie out of its stagebound setting - it was originally a play written by Bacri and Jaoui - and into a comic world of its own. Much like his last film, "When the Cat's Away," Klaspich has an observant and quiet approach which gets at the nuances of people's relationships even when they're broadly comic as they are here (the protagonist in "Cat's Away" had no contact with the outside world while the people in "Famille" know each other so well that they're all fed up and tense). Klaspich works in a deliberately minor-key - much like Claude Sautet but without the chill of high culture - and his style is unobtrusive: he lets his actors shine. Few films actually portray the tense and acerbic relations family members often share in such a comic light but "Famille" isn't cynical or mean-spirited. Despite its occassional lulls (especially in the last half-hour), the film shows the inherent comedy in the peculiar dynamics of this family and their frustrations and conflicts -- these people drive each other nuts and yet they stay together too. A comedy about family dysfunction, "Un Air de Famille" allows its actors to work in perfect comic harmony."