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"My Wife is an Actress"

Directed by Yvan Attal.
Written by Yvan Attal. 
Starring Yvan Attal and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  7/24/02 

Folks--

Man, I’m sure not going to be marrying an actress anytime soon.

French writer/director Yvan Attal does a great job of portraying the horror story that is living with a famous actress in this comedy-drama about a relationship that experiences problems due to the film industry.  In his subtitled film “My Wife is an Actress”, Attal is basically playing himself, since he really IS married to his costar in the film, Charlotte Gainsbourg, a famous English actress that has many French films to her credit.  In the film, the two keep their real first names in a story of how a relationship off the film set can be problematic if one of the two is not accustomed to a life of the rich and famous.  Yvan slowly comes to resent living a life where every dinner date, every walk through town, every ride on a train cannot be private...and, it leads him to fits of jealousy that threaten his very marriage.

If you know coming in that Attal is really living this life right now, it makes the film much more interesting.  Watching him in an incredible scene where he goes to the movie theater to see his wife’s new film, you cringe with him as 500 people watch his wife have sex with an actor onscreen; what must it be like?  I always think about the husbands & boyfriends of hot actresses like Halle Berry, J-Lo, Salma Hayek and the like; jeez, how hard was it for Berry’s husband to watch those sex scenes in “Monster’s Ball”??  First of all, Berry is hot, and so everyone is already going to the theater to see her “get down.”  Then, she has like a three-minute sex scene with Billy Bob Thornton of all people, and it is pretty adult.  How must it feel to know that 15-year-old boys are watching your wife have sex?

It is this and many other questions that Attal presents to us as he plays an everyman that always dreamed of marrying a beautiful actress, only to have to deal with the consequences every single day.  Attal is excellent here with everything—he is entirely believable, and his sporadic humor helps lighten the mood when he gets overly tense in those public situations.  Gainsbourg is not so interesting, but maybe she wasn’t written to be interesting—she has top billing, although one would assume that is her husband Attal’s doing—and besides, her part is better playing second fiddle to Attal.  The only main supporting role is played by veteran Terence Stamp, who is a wily slimeball as Gainsbourg’s older co-star in her in-movie film.  Stamp is as good as usual, and he creates an uncomfortable rapport with Gainsbourg that makes the audience suspicious throughout the length of the film.

That length is too long, and a useless subplot featuring Yvan’s sister Nathalie (Noemie Lvovsky), who is facing the daunting prospect of whether or not to circumcise her new child, makes “My Wife is an Actress” about 20 minutes too long.  But, in a 90-minute film, you gotta film it up somehow!  But, getting beyond those things, this is a fun little film.  And, there’s a scene in the film that reminded me of the exact experience I had working on a production in Jamaica last summer—funny stuff.

Rating:  $9.00 Show

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09