The Girl From Monaco (2009)
Directed by Anne Fontaine
Screenplay by Anne Fontaine, Benoit Graffin
Starring Fabrice Luchini, Roschdy Zem, Louise Bourgouin, Stéphane
French with English subtitles
Run Time: 95 minutes
The Girl from Monaco is an engaging and stylish film
that explores the encounters of a mismatched trio and the
life-altering events they ignite.
A brilliant but neurotic Parisian criminal defense attorney,
Bertrand (award-winning actor Fabrice Luchini) goes to Monaco
to defend a murder case against Edith Lassalle (Stéphane
Audran) a famous 70-year-old women. Bertrand, a middle-aged
prissy bachelor, is cultivated, cerebral and serious. He loves
to seduce women, but only verbally. He abandons them before
getting physically involved, as he fears the loss of control.
Because of the notoriety of the murder case, the defendant’s
family hires a zealous bodyguard, Christophe (great performance
by Roschdy Zem). Christophe is frank, direct, quiet and athletic.
Having dropped out of school in the seventh grade, he admires
in others the culture and the command of language he lacks.
In juxtaposition to Bertrand, Christophe loves women, except
to talk to them.
When Bertrand arrives in Monaco, he becomes transformed. The
stunning scenery, the blue sky meeting the Mediterranean Sea,
the bright sun, the sensual colors and the free and casual
atmosphere all combine to loosen Bertrand’s reserve.
Instead of focusing on the case, Bertrand allows himself to
become mesmerized by Audrey, (newcomer Louise Bourgoin) a
young, gorgeous, sexy local weather girl who throws herself
at Bertrand — every man’s fantasy. Bourgoin is
perfect for the part, since she was a weather girl herself.
Audrey embodies the sensuality and recklessness that Bertrand
lacks. However, Audrey is as ambitious as she is uncontrollable.
Words such as “boundaries,” “taboos,”
and “qualms” are not in her (limited) vocabulary.
Audrey soon tries to take over Bertrand’s life and turns
him into a complete wreck—emotionally and physically.
While Bertrand loses himself in his relationship with Audrey,
Bertrand and his bodyguard, Christophe, gradually form an
unlikely friendship. Christophe, who had a fling with Audrey
two years back, views her as unworthy of Bertrand’s
adoration. Or perhaps he feels a glint of jealousy.
Christophe takes his mission so seriously that he feels responsible
for his “master’s” life, and progressively
takes things into his own hands. Eventually, Christophe’s
actions go so far that everything topples over. Nevertheless,
the relationship between Bertrand and Christophe continues
to grow stronger as each feels responsible for the other’s
The Girl from Monaco is a very French film. Superficially,
the film is lively and comedic. Yet, as the three characters’
interactions develop, the film grows more serious. While the
somber last third of the movie is quite a shift from the comedic
first two-thirds, it generates many ideas to ponder.
I suppose that The Girl from Monaco would have been
a more cohesive film had the ending continued in its amusing
lighthearted vein, but the film is not about cohesion. And
then we would have missed the depth of performances given
by Fabrice Luchini and Roschdy Zem.
The marvelous Monaco scenery and the alluring Louise Bourgouin
are eye candy enough to keep audiences very engaged in The
Girl from Monaco.
Emily S. Mendel
©Emily S. Mendel 2009 All Rights Reserved