Volume 77 / Number 49 - May 7 - 13, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since

Koch on film

By Ed Koch

“Roman de Gare” (+)

This French film noir held my attention from beginning to end. They do the genre best.

The movie begins with a police announcement that a serial killer is on the loose. Meanwhile, Huguette (Audrey Dana) is traveling from Paris with her fiancé, Paul (Cyrille Eldin) to introduce him to her parents. On the way to her parents’ farm in a beautiful rural area, Paul and Huguette have a tiff in the car, and he walks out on her during a gas station break.

Huguette meets a man at the station, Pierre (Dominique Pinon), whom she takes to her parents’ home and introduces as her finance, Paul. At this point two stories fuse. One involves a mystery writer, Judith (Fanny Ardant), who is expected to write a new best seller, and the other concerns Pierre, Judith’s ghostwriter and possible future murderer.

The story line contains huge holes; nevertheless, because of the superb acting on the part of everyone, it is enthralling.

The show I attended was sold out. (In French with English subtitles).

PT said: “There are a lot of false leads that make it hard to figure out who the hero is and who the villain is. That makes the film interesting to watch as the viewer tries to figure out where the plot is going.”

“Then She Found Me” (-)

What a waste of talent. It’s difficult to believe that a film with a cast that includes Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Colin Firth, Matthew Broderick, and Salman Rushdie could be so tedious. They are all flat in their roles and create no energy, synergy or a single memorable scene.

The plot, based on a book by Elinor Lipman, had potential. Thirty-nine-year-old April (Helen Hunt), a teacher at a New York Jewish elementary school, hopes to conceive a child with her husband, Ben (Matthew Broderick), before her 40th birthday. April, who is very religious and keeps the Sabbath, is caught off guard when the childlike Ben announces he is ending their marriage and returning home to his mother.

Other issues include a fellow teacher, Frank (Colin Firth), who wants to date April, and the arrival of Bernice (Bette Midler) who tells April she is her birth mother and that her father was Steve McQueen.

In my mind, Helen Hunt has always been a sister of Laura Linney. The two resemble one another and are both excellent actors, but Hunt is disappointing in this role. Other critics have blamed the failure of the film on the fact that it was Ms. Hunt’s directorial debut. I don’t usually comment on the role of directors, because I don’t believe I have the expertise to evaluate the effectiveness of their role.

“Then She Found Me” could have been very funny, very serious, or a combination of both. Instead, it is very boring.

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