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Molière (PG-13)

Release Date: June 27th, 2007 (Landmark Sunshine Cinema and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas) by Sony Pictures Classics.
The Cast: Romain Duris, Fabrice Luchini, Laura Morante, Edouard Baer, Ludivine Sagnier, Fanny Valette, Mélanie Dos Santos, Gonzague Requillart, Gilian Petrovski.
Directed by Laurent Tirard.
In French with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: In 1958 Paris, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, a.k.a. Molière (Duris), a struggling playwright/actor teaches the craft of theater to wealthy man, Jourdain (Luchini), who, in exchange, bails him out of jail and pays his debts.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Decent performances and an appealing cast help to make Molière mildly engaging, despite a somewhat tedious plot lacking in enough humor and wit. Romaine Duris plays the 22-year-old Molière who changes his name to Monsieur Tartuffe once he enters the home of Jourdain to teach him how to act so that he can impress a sexy young woman, Celimene (Sagnier) in a play. Meanwhile, Jourdain’s wife, Elmire (Morante) flirts with Molière. Elmire’s daughter, Henriette (Valette) wants to marry a man who doesn’t nearly have the fortunes that her family has. Most of the dramatic scenes work, but when the script by co-writer/director Laurent Tirard tries to be offbeat and funny, the humor often falls flat. Romain Duris, although appealing, simply lacks comic timing and charm as the titular character. On the other hand, Fabrice Lucini and Laura Morante both shine in their roles. More scenes showing Molière’s comic talents in acting/writing theater plays would have been helpful. Fortunately, the production values, including the costume and set designs, add an authentic look and feel to this mildly engaging, but somewhat underwhelming period piece which occasionally drags at a running time of 120 minutes.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Slightly tedious and low on comedy.


IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly engaging and lightweight with strong performances and impressive production values, but occasionally tedious and low on comedy.


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