This contemporary comedy of manners postulates a pretty Paris playground for literate US expats - the sort of place where the man on the veg stall hands over asparagus with an allusion to La Princesse de Clèves. Roxy (poet, pregnant) is getting divorced from her upper echelon French husband Charles, who has been having an affair with a Ukrainian sculptor or some such. So half-sister Isabel is in town to provide moral support. Isabel's soon at a bit of two timing of her own, sweetly juggling a hedge-haired bohemian and a well-connected relative of Charles, who's twice her age. There's a subplot involving the authentication of an old oil painting, and much ado about Gallic social codes. Le Divorce is Merchant Ivory, hence the high culture occupations and the high calibre international cast. The above, not including the grocer and the sculptor, are embodied by Watts, Poupaud, Hudson, Duris and Lhermitte. Not to mention Channing, Modine, Caron, and on and on. Diane Johnson's novel accounts for a lot of the literary load - butmercifully the film is nothing like as self-satisfied as the book. Abraham Lincoln's truism - about people who like this sort of thing finding this the sort of thing they like - pretty much sums this movie up. But what's to like, or dislike? It trots along cleanly and briskly, though its human interest is just about nil; it's set in Paris, which is never a bad place to locate a story; and its brittle light-heartedness is easier on the nerves, than, say, the average Oliver Stone.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, James Ivory|