13 April 2003 | dbdumonteil
Molinaro, the scatterbrained
"Beaumarchais, l'insolent" is definitely a disappointment. First, by reading the title, you could have thought that the movie would embrace Beaumarchais' whole life: from his childhood until his death. Well, it's not the case. It only focuses on the most important part of Beaumarchais' life. The one that takes place between 1775 and 1785. During this era, Beaumarchais was an extraordinary character. Not only, was he a great French writer, but he used to have several other jobs. For example, he was a spy for the king, supporter of the Human Rights (he took part in the writing of the Declaration of Independence).
Unlike to Ariane Mouchkine's movie called "Molière", here, the movie hasn't got the precision and the brilliance of the making and especially the Beaumarchais' lucid and visionary look on the society of the eighteenth century. Moreover, the screenplay only retains the most famous sequences and cues from Beaumarchais' full life.
On another hand, Molinaro had a wrong idea by making nearly all great French actors appear in one movie. Indeed, you only see them for a few minutes (sometimes a few seconds!) and generally in decorative and minor roles that don't bring anything to the movie, notably Alain Chabat. Among these actors, some of them are more specialized in comic films. So, the transition from a comic movie to an historic movie fits badly for them.
At last, the movie tries more or less to introduce a certain humor but this one doesn't articulate very well with the sequences. So, it turns out to be pointless and vain.
At the end, this is a low-key biography where you could have wished more contribution and harshness.