Gerard Depardieu delivers a riveting (The New York Times) performance as a man torn between ethereal beauty and earthy passion in this hypnotic (Los Angeles Times) portrait of a most unusual love triangle. Winner* of f... more »ive César Awards, including Best Picture, this witty, provocative tale offers fresh insight into the old, old story of marital infidelity (Variety). Bernard (Depardieu) has a stunningly gorgeous wife (Carole Bouquet), a thriving career and two beautiful children. But his enviable life spirals out of control when he falls madly in love with hisdecidedly plain secretary (Josiane Balasko). Could it be possible that physical beauty is finally no match for a woman who can touch a man's heart? *1990: Director, Actress (Bouquet), Screenplay, Editing« less
"In this clever take on love and relationships, the affairs of three people are enigmatically
portrayed. Everyone adores Bernard's wife Florence. His friends lust for her, her friends envy her. She is very beautiful, and for Bernard there is nothing more left to desire. And that is precisely what troubles him: she may just be too beautiful. His secretary, a temp named Colette, is completely the opposite to Florence. But in her physical unattractiveness Bernard finds a refuge to his peculiar dilemma. Despite of what may seem as a logical explanation, he is not plagued by an inferiority complex. What drives Bernard is the psychological force of the middle-age crisis. Some people wonder whether what they have is as good as it gets. Bernard actually knows that. The second he is near Florence he knows that that is true; gazes of his friends reassure him in that.With Colette, however, he feels completely at ease. There is no need for self-assertion and he is free to choose. Naturally, there is much more to this film, which is full of surprises and unexpected events. The only country where such a complex and somewhat surrealistic plot could have been brought to life, where careful avoidance of turning the film into a soap opera, a pointless comedy, or a tedious drama meets with the bittersweet taste of love and desire is France, and the philosophy of love, the satire, and the superb acting -- Depardieu, Bouquet, and Balasko make a lovely team -- are also typically French here. Ironically enough, the question of the age is inverted to "what does a MAN want?""
Alan A. Elsner | Washington DC | 07/28/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Depardieu plays a car salesman who falls in love with his ordinary-looking temporary secretary, despite being married to a gorgeous wife. The premise was promising but the result disappointing. In general I'm a lover of French cinema but it does have a tendency to get preachy and pseudo-intellectual -- and that's what happens in this movie. We get lines of dialogue like this: Mistress: I've vomited on your rug. Wife: Take the rug. Leave my husband. Sometimes the characters step out of character and deliver lines as if they were spectators or critics. Sometimes, they come together for absurd dinner parties and in one scene for a wedding at which they deliver ridiculous speeches in the manner of "The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie." But in general, this is a sloppy, pretentious movie of little charm or worth."
A parody of French romance that is a French romance.
xxxxxxxxx | timbuktu | 01/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember seeing this when it came out, and I still have my vhs copy from long ago. I don't understand how anyone could call this too pretentious. Too farcical or silly maybe. But lines like, 'I vomited on your rug,' 'Take my rug but leave my husband' are pure comedy. It's a mockery of the pretentious. (Is that over the head of the local audience?) I think it's a really lovely movie that impressively combines comedy and drama."
A film as surreal and complex as they come: Love and beauty
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 05/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want to settle in for a light and entertaining breezy film about the complex intricasies of why and whom we love,then Bertrand Blier's TOO BEAUTIFUL FOR YOU is not your fare!!! Blier's mindblower is about as difficult and surreal a treatise on attractions and why they occur and with what pain they can cause as this reviewer has ever seen! You will be richly rewarded as Blier's trip into the serendipitous world of unexplained attractions is explored and actualized through a totally brilliant and unconventional narrative (that must have been a real toughy for an actor to read on first glance!),clever scene changes that shift back and forth in time and place, characters who speak aloud their most secret inner thoughts (though not actually doing so!),unbelievably sensitive acting from the three principle actors,Josiane Balasko,Gerard Depardieu and Carole Bouquet,with all of this glued together by a geniously woven tapestry of the tragic/melancholic composer Franz Schubert's romantically charged quartets,symphonies and choral works. (This is highly significant to the film's theme as Schubert was a man thwarted in love,sickly, whose music always bordered on the romantic of the unfulfilled and unfinished,who died in his mid-thirties.One of the most clever uses of his music is when his HOLY,HOLY,HOLY, a hymn to the Trinity somberly intones when all three principle players are meshed into this love/betrayal triangle showing that only God could get them out of this mess!)
On the surface,the film is simply about the seeming attraction of a highly successful car salesman (Depardieu),who is married to his most beautiful and desired- by- all wife (Bouquet)with lovely children and mansion-like house,to his rather dowdy and "slob-like" temp secretary (Balasko)who returns the like attraction to her employer.The narrative at this point becomes totally unconventional and the film becomes progressively intertwined between what is real, what is emotion spoken and unspoken, and what is real time vs.what is something that may or may not actually have happened.Actually, what Blier shows us is the true craziness and paranoia/grandeur-like pomposity that overtakes people when they allow themselves to act upon their impulses! If this sounds confusing,you are correct to a point! If you are not totally alert at every turn in this marvelous French wonder you may be tempted to throw up your hands and scream "What!!??".But Bertrand Blier is smart enough to keep the viewer from falling from their own sane seat! Blier's film is so clever that it actually defies convention.It does help to know a little about the music and life of Franz Schubert and his music to understand why Blier particularly chose this composer. If this had been a straightforward narrative such as the American films UNFAITHFUL or even FATAL ATTRACTION, you would simply have had another taught thriller with a tidy ending. Blier doesnot give you that at all.He forces you to think in great detail about how affairs/attractions occur, the unrealistic sense of ultimate bliss they will bring, and the tragic results to everyone's psyche that they leave behind when they don't work out. Some will dismiss this as French arthouse intellectualism .I prefer to consider the alternative; a filmmaker's brilliant artistry that challenges the viewer beyond what normally is done by 99% of his contemporaries."
A Charming Little Film
Caitlin Saia | Quincy, MA USA | 10/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This film is definately charming, and is different from most of the main sream films.
A man, who has a beautiful wife and children, falls in love with his frumpy-dressing average-looking secretary. He makes love to her, cheating on his wife.
His wife becomes aware of this, but instead of leaving him, she tries to be the woman of his dreams, but cannot suceed. He discovers that a woman with no imperfections is not desirable, there is nothing more to want from her.