Review By Frances Winston
Directed by: Azazel Jacobs – Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Imogen Poots, Susan Coyne, Danielle Macdonald, Isaach de Bankolé, Tracy Letts
In cinemas now!
Based on the novel of the same name by Patrick deWitt, who also wrote the screenplay, this surreal drama tell the story of Frances (Pfeiffer) a Manhattan heiress, who loses everything after her husband’s death. After selling her remaining possessions, she and her henpecked son, Malcolm (Hedges) relocate to her friend’s small apartment in Paris, along with their cat (which just happens to be Frances’ reincarnated husband of course).
Not being familiar with the source material, I have to admit the whole husband reincarnated as a cat thing took me by surprise. However, after I processed it, it seemed to make perfect sense, in the context of the quirky characters and somewhat thin story. And it’s actually not the strangest plot point in this film.
Pfeiffer is fantastic as Frances. She manages to make a caustic and brusque character likeable, and you do become quite invested in her. She plays well with Hedges as her long suffering son, Malcolm. He is suitably hang-dog, although his performance lacks some nuance.
The supporting cast peppered throughout the story are very strong, however, their characters aren’t really developed. Hence we get lots of very wordy exposition, explaining their context to the story. This is a trope often used by novelists who adapt their novels for screen, however, it is a rather monotonous one. I feel that often they are too close to the characters, and possibly not the best choice to write the screenplay. And indeed that seems to prove true here, as despite some brilliant and touching moments, overall it is a bit tedious, and at almost two hours it does drag considerably.