2 April 2011 | Chrysanthepop
Divorce Is Not Sexy
I've been looking forward to 'Le Divorce' for years. Despite the negative reviews and the silly trailer, it was something I didn't want to miss. After all, it's a Merchant Ivory movie that stars actors like Naomi Watts, Glenn Close, Stockard Channing, Romain Duris and Kate Hudson, so how bad could it be? Sadly, this is perhaps Merchant Ivory's weakest film.
'Le Divorce' contrasts between the French culture and the American. The said comparison is made between an upper class French family and a middle-class American family. Much 'use' is made of the stereotype Americans have of French people but there are also certain interesting differences made here (such as Roxanne's unfair divorce settlement and how her in-laws become obsessed with a painting she owns). Isabel has an affair with an older man, Roxanne's ex-uncle-in-law, and this is perceived as something common in France.
The overall story felt lacking in substance. It moves at a lethargic pace. The ending is very Hollywood.
Pierre L'homme's stunning cinematography gives us a nice view of France. Some of the dialogues are quite witty and charming. The actors do a fine job. Naomi Watts steals the show once again. She displays Roxanne's vulnerability, despair and strength with gusto. Kate Hudson pulls off Isabel with natural charm. Tierry L'hermitte, Gleen Close, Stockard Channing, Leslie Caron, Stephen Fry, Romain Duris and Sam Waterston provide great support.
Overall, 'Le Divorce' is not in the league of the gems created by the Ivory Merchant team. It has the performances working for it and the nice shots of France.