Patrick Bruel

review whats in a name

Pierre (Charles Berling), a university prof who wears corduroy “like his second skin,” and his wife Elizabeth (Valérie Benguigui), an eternally optimistic middle-school teacher, are hosting a small dinner party for three guests. Claude (Guillaume de Tonquedec), a single and successful trombonist, has been best friends with Elizabeth since their childhood. Her carefree brother, Vincent (Patrick Bruel), is also joining along with his pregnant wife, Anna (Judith El Zein). All hope for a quiet and casual gathering is thrown violently out the window when the night becomes a highly combustible, Mediterranean food-fueled fracas among friends and family. The fireworks start innocently enough when, with Anna running late, Vincent entertains guesses from the others as to what they’ve decided to name their unborn son. They all come up short leading him to reveal a name that quickly moves the room from incredulous to enraged. The ensuing argument triggers a spate of insults, insinuations, and revelations that threaten to ruin not just the evening but their relationships as well. What’s In a Name? is a wickedly sharp and biting look at the value we place on names, both the proper ones we’re given and the identifiers we use in daily life, and how they’re used to sum up a person’s life and contribution in just a word or two. Friend. Brother. Wife. Lover. Asshole…?

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review paris manhattan

Love isn’t always easy, but sometimes the wisdom you need to navigate matters of the heart can be found in the movies. Cinema actually contains the answers to most of life’s questions provided you ask the right ones, know where to look and don’t have terrible taste in films. This is well-established fact. Alice (Alice Taglioni) is a believer in this theory I just made up, but she subscribes to a very specific application of it. Put simply, she loves Woody Allen and his films to the point that she has conversations with the life-size poster of him in her bedroom. She asks for advice, and he replies with dialogue from his movies. The results haven’t exactly been spectacular, but she’s convinced that he knows what he’s talking about. She meets and falls for a young man, but her sister swoops him up and makes him her own. Ten years later and Alice is still single and pining for her sister’s now husband, but things start looking up when she meets a new beau (Yannick Soulier). Except she also meets Victor (Patrick Bruel)… Paris Manhattan is less of a love letter to Allen than it is a mash note as it tries to say a lot in a limited space to varying effect. It finds both romance and comedy in its story, and while they work well enough the 77 minute run-time ensures neither really takes hold.

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