A classy, feisty film that redefines the romcom as it follows an unexpected love affair among the cobbled Parisian streets.
In Madame, writer and director Amanda Sthers has created a film that tells a tale of love, longing and class conflict. But despite the familiar themes, there’s much more to this movie than meets the eye.
Rossy de Palma (Julieta) is Maria, a pedantic but playful housemaid who is unwillingly shoved into the limelight when her boss Anne (Toni Collette) realises they’re one woman short for their extravagant dinner party. After the unexpected arrival of her stepson, Anne declares 13 an unlucky number and forces Maria to dress the part, with strict instructions not to say too much, eat too much and definitely not to drink too much. But fortune isn’t on Anne’s side, and when art broker David (Michael Smiley) is seated next to Maria at dinner, he falls head over heels for her charm and open sense of humour.
What follows is a heady romance set among the extravagant, picturesque streets of Paris. As Maria continues to embrace her blossoming relationship with David, Anne becomes increasingly jealous and threatens to reveal Maria’s secret. But will the big reveal prove fatal for this romantic affair?
Madame is a film that defies conventions. The maid, Maria, refuses to be submissive and give up her own happiness on the orders of haughty, demanding boss, Anne. The chemistry between Maria and David is awkward and humorous, but at the same time completely enthralling. Rossy de Palma puts in a perfect performance as Maria, showing her passion, playful humour and heartbreaking emotional journey to great effect that by the end you’re standing in solidarity with this brave character. Toni Collette is utterly convincing as the wicked stepmother, characterising Anne as bitchy, hateful and vulnerable as she negotiates her way though her failing marriage to the ditzy, straight-talking Bob (Harvey Keitel).
Madame might have all the components of a romcom, but its sharp dialogue and blunt exploration of emotional themes mean it’s got some serious edge. Beneath the passion and romance is infidelity, lies, class conflict and female empowerment – it’s hugely entertaining, but certainly not a film to be taken lightly.
Different, diverse and confronting, this is one love story you really don’t want to miss.
Madame is on general release from August 17
Image courtesy of StudioCanal