Look at Me

(Comme une Image)

Look at Me is the perfect French film. Lots of witty dialogue, good acting, and incredibly dull. This is another one of those movies that critics everywhere will adore, and when a normal person sees it, they will be completely baffled as to why. While a film can be mentally stimulating, it should be in such a way that it's fun to watch at the same time. Look at Me, from writer/director Agnes Jaoui (The Taste of Others, Same Old Song) is about the way that people perceive themselves, who they are, and who they wish they were.

The emotional core of the story is between Etienne Cassard (Jean-Pierre Bacri, The Housekeeper, The Taste of Others) and his daughter Lolita (Marilou Berry, My Life is Hell) . Etienne is a wildly successful author who let fame go to his head. Basically, he's a jerk. His fans fawn around him, and he looks down upon everybody from his perch. Lolita is a promising singer, but hopelessly mental because of the inattention of Etienne. She is also a bit chunky, which adds to her self-image problems. Typically, Etienne gets things from her father by guilt tripping him.

Lolita is so paranoid that she believes that many of the people she meets only want to talk to her as a stepping-stone to meeting Etienne. Unfortunately, this is true. Her vocal coach, Sylvia Millet (Jaoui), wants little to do with her until she learns that Etienne is her father. Sylvia is a huge fan of Cassard, and her husband Pierre (Laurent Grevill, The Good Thief, A Private Affair) is a struggling writer.

Bacri, who co-wrote the screenplay with Jaoui (his wife), plays the cranky old man he usually plays. He's coasting, but he's still good. Most of Look at Me moves slowly, with people worrying about each other, and in Lolita's case, worrying about what others are thinking. This is the French version of Woody Allen less some of the whiny neuroses. Jaoui wants to focus more on the characters and their interactions with each other than the story, which is flimsy. Still, it won the award for Best Screenplay at Cannes, so that has to mean something, right?

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 50 minutes, French with English subtitles, Rated PG-13 for brief language and a sexual reference.

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