The Divorce (2003)

PG-13   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance


The Divorce (2003) Poster

French vs. American social customs and behaviors are observed in a story about an American visiting her Frenchman-wed sister in Paris.


4.9/10
11,081


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  • Naomi Watts in The Divorce (2003)
  • Chris Robinson at an event for The Divorce (2003)
  • Ismail Merchant at an event for The Divorce (2003)
  • Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson at an event for The Divorce (2003)
  • Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts in The Divorce (2003)
  • James Ivory and Ismail Merchant at an event for The Divorce (2003)

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Awards

2 wins.

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User Reviews


11 August 2006 | wickest
8
| generalities, truth, and a few near-misses
After viewing the unfortunate "Golden Bowl" (also by James Ivory) the day before, an exposure to "Le Divorce" was certainly a refreshing sip of champagne. This may be the first James Ivory movie I've seen where I forgot to look at the sets (unlike Ivory's other French venture, "Jefferson in Paris"). This is mostly due to the depth of certain actors and the fact that this time Ivory decides to close in on them rather than frame them. When the book came out, as an American living in Paris for 30 years, I avoided reading another set of American observations on everything French that foreign residents here hate, and I can't say that the movie avoids the pitfalls of throwing around generalities. Yet this is kept to an astonishing minimum, perhaps because few of the main characters really consider themselves typical representatives of their native country. Instead of a plethora of reflections coming out of their mouths, "the French are like this, the Americans are like that," the viewer can actually draw his own conclusions about which country has the "nicest" people and the place of formality when it comes to private matters. After all, would the story have been that much different if it had dealt with class differences in New York City? The characters who do tend to generalize are perhaps the least involved in what is going on. They form the real "décor" of the film, rather than the wallpaper and polished furniture, although these elements certainly haven't been omitted.

I find it strange that the two most interesting actors are supposed to belong to the subplot, Kate Hudson and Thierry L'Hermitte. The latter is currently being wasted in his late middle age in French films, and, like Louis Jourdan in "Gigi," manages to bring a little subtle something extra to the most stereotyped part in the film. I'd like to see him extend what he has done here, if any producer or director can be bothered.

The film had such a short run in France that I missed seeing it in a movie theater, and it was dismissed by most French critics on its release like the way that some of the American characters are dismissed by their French counterparts in the film itself. It would be a shame to overlook this light but not lightweight effort, for it has a surprisingly natural charm and raises interesting questions about how much the culture that forms our conditioning influences our very humanity.

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$516,834 10 August 2003

Gross USA:

$9,081,057

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,991,996

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