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Best New DVD: Agnes Jaoui’s Sly, Comic “Let It Rain”

Photo of Caryn James By Caryn James | James on Screens December 21, 2010 at 3:00AM

The world is full of sophisticated French films that are easy to enjoy and easy to forget; they all blend together. Agnes’ Jaoui’s (Look at Me, The Taste of Others) stand out for characters who look more like real people than Parisian models, and for her smooth combination of warmth and acerbic wit with a dash of cynicism. In Let It Rain, Jaoui herself pays Agathe, a feminist writer who reluctantly agrees to run for local office and less reluctantly agrees to have a documentary made about her, not knowing that the filmmaker, Michel (Jaoui’s co-writer, Jean-Pierre Bacri), is having an affair with Agathe’s married sister.
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The world is full of sophisticated French films that are easy to enjoy and easy to forget; they all blend together. Agnes’ Jaoui’s (Look at Me, The Taste of Others) stand out for characters who look more like real people than Parisian models, and for her smooth combination of warmth and acerbic wit with a dash of cynicism. In Let It Rain, Jaoui herself pays Agathe, a feminist writer who reluctantly agrees to run for local office and less reluctantly agrees to have a documentary made about her, not knowing that the filmmaker, Michel (Jaoui’s co-writer, Jean-Pierre Bacri), is having an affair with Agathe’s married sister.

What starts out as a smart but conventional comedy gets wilder and funnier as Agathe’s life becomes more chaotic: her relationship is floundering, the documentrary is a mess. By the end you see how sly Jaoui is. Without fireworks, she turns Let It Rain into a lively farce, more than just another French confection.

(Let It Rain is released on DVD today by IFC; no commentary, just a making-of feature.)

This article is related to: Best On DVD

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