After Life Is a Long Quiet River, Chatiliez' second film is again a black comedy, a scabrous assault on middle class mores. Tatie Danielle (Chelton) is an ailing, respectable widow - or so she appears. As her relatives the Billards soon discover, behind her feeble demeanour lurks an indomitable will and a malicious mind. If only for sheer bloody-mindedness, the movie earns a few chuckles in the beginning, but once Tatie's true nature is established, it goes nowhere fast. Chatiliez seems to share Tatie's contempt for this stereotyped middle class family; but on the evidence presented, it is hard not to conclude that the bourgeoisie are in pretty good shape, their restraint and kindness lasting well beyond the call of duty. After this satiric backfire, there's the inevitable back-down as the old lady meets her match in the shape of a no-shit young house-sitter (Nanty). For an encore, Chatiliez stages an ending that is at once anticlimactic, predictable and illogical: an apt conclusion for a clumsy, tiresome, unendearing film.
Cast and crew