My Afternoons with Margueritte
|My Afternoons with Margueritte|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jean Becker|
|Produced by||Louis Becker
|Screenplay by||Jean Becker
|Story by||Amélie Bérard|
|Based on||My Afternoons with Margueritte
by Marie-Sabine Roger
|Music by||Laurent Voulzy|
|Edited by||Jacques Witta|
My Afternoons with Margueritte (French: La Tête en friche) is a 2010 French film directed by Jean Becker, based on the book of the same name by Marie-Sabine Roger. It stars Gérard Depardieu, Gisèle Casadesus, Claire Maurier, Maurane, and François-Xavier Demaison. The film tells the story of an illiterate man who bonds with an older, well-read woman.
Germain is a 45-year-old illiterate handyman who has not had much luck in his life so far. He was bullied at school, both by the teacher and the other pupils because he was a slow reader. His mother never gave him love and affection, and kept reminding him that he was clumsy and an unwanted child, the result of a fling at the French national holiday. But he is loyal, with a good heart, and still parks his trailer close to her house where he maintains his lovely vegetable garden. He earns some extra money by taking his vegetables to the weekly farmers' market in the truck borrowed from the bar where he relaxes every day with his friends, joking and chatting. His girl friend Annette is a younger woman who drives the local bus, and is very much in love with this sweet, simple and loving man.
One afternoon Germain meets Margueritte, a delicate 95-year-old lady who sits on the same bench to feed the 19 pigeons that he has observed so often that he knows them by sight and has given them names. She is highly educated, a scientist who has traveled the world with the World Health Organization and now spends her life reading in the genteel retirement home in this small town. They connect over a text from The Plague by Albert Camus, but because Germain is barely literate Margueritte starts to read the book aloud to him. Slowly he starts to appreciate the beauty of words and sentences and books because he is a good listener and he has a vivid imagination. The symbolism Camus uses in this philosophical novel leads Germain to expand his horizon, making him think as never before. The pair meet every day to continue their reading sessions. A friendship develops that is healing for both, enabling Germain to face the frustrations he silently carries with him. She continues to read to him, and eventually Margueritte gives him her old dictionary. In it he tries to find words that he's interested in, but because he can't spell he find the dictionary too frustrating and decides to return it when he has agreed to come over to Margueritte's retirement home for tea. She tells him that her eyesight is gradually fading due to macular degeneration, and that she will soon no longer be able to walk unassisted. Germain decides to reverse roles and try to read to her, but first he must improve his reading skills. With Annette's support he learns to read a story aloud to Margueritte. Shortly thereafter, Germain’s mother dies. Despite his mother's bad attitude toward him all his life, he is still distraught when he finds her dead. At the notary's he discovers that his mother owned the house he had always thought she was renting, and a sizeable fortune she had worked hard to earn, intending to bequeath that to him but never telling him about that. Meanwhile, Annette announces her pregnancy to Germain, who has wondered about the wisdom of having children because he does not want them to grow up with a good-for-nothing father, but Annette tells him not to worry: he can give love. When Margueritte suddenly leaves her retirement home because her nephew and niece can no longer supplement the costs and is put into a downscale retirement home in Flanders, Belgium, she has left only her dictionary for Germain. Germain traces her down and brings her with him to his house. On the way home, Germain reads a poem he has written about what Margueritte has done for him:
- It's not a typical love affair
- But "love" and "tenderness"
- Both are there
- Named after a daisy
- She lived amidst words
- Surrounded by adjectives
- In green fields of verbs
- Some force you to yield
- But she with soft art
- Passed through my hard shield
- And into my heart
- Not always are love stories
- Just made of love
- Love is not named
- But it's love just the same...
- This is no typical love affair
- I met her on a bench in my local square
- She made a little stir, tiny like a bird
- With her gentle feathers
- She was surrounded by words
- Some as common as myself
- She gave me books, two or three
- Their pages have come alive for me
- Don't die now,
- You've still time, just wait
- It's not the hour, my little flower
- Give me some more of you
- More of the life in you
- Not always are love stories
- Just made of love
- Sometimes love is not named
- But it's love just the same.
- Gérard Depardieu as Germain Chazes
- Gisèle Casadesus as Margueritte
- Claire Maurier as Jacqueline
- Maurane as Francine
- François-Xavier Demaison as Gardini
- Anne Le Guernec as Jacqueline
- Amandine Chauveau as Jacqueline
- Sophie Guillemin as Annette
- Florian Yven as Germain
- Patrick Bouchitey as Landremont
- Régis Laspalès as M. Bayle
- Jean-François Stévenin as Joseph
- Lyes Salem as Youssef
- Matthieu Dahan as Julien
- Bruno Ricci as Marco
- Mélanie Bernier as Stéphanie
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 85% based on 60 reviews, and an average rating of 6.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "It's sentimental and treacly, but that's not enough to prevent My Afternoons with Margueritte from being truly affecting." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 59 out of 100, based on 16 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
- "La Tête en friche (My Afternoons with Margueritte) (2010)". JP's Box-Office. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
- Niemiec, Ryan M; Wedding, Danny (2013). Positive Psychology at the Movies: Using Films to Build Virtues and Character Strengths. Hogrefe Verlag. pp. 347–. ISBN 978-1-61676-443-2.
- 1900, C. J. (n.d.). 玛格丽特午后的小诗[A poem from My afternoons with Margueritte]. Retrieved December 19, 2013, from Douban website: http://www.douban.com/note/321962738/
- "La tête en friche (My Afternoons with Margueritte) (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
- "My Afternoons with Margueritte Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 23, 2018.