Was Ma part du gâteau my cup of tea? Not entirely. It was an interesting film, though, and a much more enjoyable watching experience than L’Art d’aimer.
I clearly need to have words with the movie rental site about their insistence on writing blurbs that overstate the amount of romance and/or comedy in films. I was expecting a much lighter film than the one I got, but I am glad that did watch it all the same. The film tells the story of a woman laid off as a result of a corporate raid on her Dunkirk factory who moves to Paris to work as a housekeeper to support her family. She ends up working for a corporate raider just returned from a long stint in a London merchant bank. You might think you can predict what happens, but you’d probably be only partially correct.
What I liked about this film was the way it constantly asserted its non-Hollywood nature. The male protagonist is a complete douchebag, and although he does grow as a character, and develop characteristics that make him easier to like, there is no “Pretty Woman” style conversion, no metamorphosis into a Prince Charming once the toad is “kissed”. To the very end, he remains driven his desire to always have “his piece of the cake”, and that’s a real strength of the film.
One of the reasons I decided to count only non-English films for my fiftyfiftyme challenge was to make sure I saw more films like this one. Not necessarily masterpieces, but films that told familiar stories with a different sensibility. I enjoyed watching this film because it told a believable story well, and treated its audience with respect. Hollywood films seem to assume that viewers are morons who need everything dumbed down and mushed up into a happy pap, whereas even run-of-the-mill European films like this one do not. There are definitely worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than watching this film.