Verdict: 4 / 5
It’s not a typical love affair, but love and tenderness, both are there. Named after a daisy, she lived amongst words, surrounded by adjectives in green fields of verbs. Some force you yield to. But she, with soft art, passed through my hard shield and into my heart. – Germain Chazes
Chazes (Gerard Depardieu ) refers to Margueritte (Gisele Casadesus), with these poetic words. For it is this fragile 95 year old little lady that introduces Chazes, a large and somewhat dim character, to a world beyond the pain and mediocre living through literature, imagination and genuine kindness. It is a kindness he is not accustom to, having grown up in a emotionally abusive home, often the subject of ridicule. Chazes never attempted to pursue much as he was made to believe that he’d never amount to much. Before meeting Margueritte, he never had the courage to try.
So from a light conversation about pigeons on a park bench, a lasting friendship is formed that seems so natural and sincere it’s truly heart-warming. Becker doesn’t distract by panning endlessly over landscapes of France, rather he pulls the focus, constantly on the characters, to such a personal level that you almost feel that you are seated with them. With such motivated selections, and attention to detail, the audience is drawn by the growing relationship, the way they influence each other’s lives and the personal development, that all can associate or identify with.
This screen adaption from Marie-Sabine Roger book, by the same name, embodies so much of everyday encounters, and the impact those have on our perception.
The first book Margueritte reads from is La Peste (The Plague) by Albert Camus. The descriptions of a life without beauty, become so vivid as Chaze listens to the words that he proclaims that cannot be. Some might say that using existing literature to aid in the telling of a story or the development there of is lazy on the part of the writer, but it is rather cleverly used as a tool, as it serves as reference of how literature echoes the condition of our souls in reality. Don’t be alarmed though, if you have never heard or read any of the books mentioned it’s of no concern. The story unfolds regardless.
The cast does an excellent job bringing the text to life, so honestly it seems effortless. It’s a pleasure to watch. My afternoons with Margueritte is layered with deep and thought provoking moments, light heartedness, enjoyment, sorrow, tenderness, with a heartfelt twist and above all hope.
Not always are love stories just made of love. Sometimes love is not named but it’s love just the same. This is not a 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 got time, just wait It’s not the hour, my little flower Give me some more of you. More of the life in you. – Germain Chazes