My Wife is an Actress

(Me Femme est une Actrice)

Actors, especially popular ones, live in a world unlike that of everybody else. They need to constantly worry about superficial things like what they are wearing or how their hair is, to a degree much higher than the normal person. Everywhere they go, adoring fans want to take a picture with them or get an autograph. So the spouse of a famous actor must feel a lot like Yvan, the husband of Charlotte, one of the most popular actresses is France in Yvan Attal's My Wife is an Actress. This is Attal's (The Criminal, Le Prof) writing and directorial debut, and presents an interesting (if possibly unintentional) look into his life. He is a popular actor in France, but his wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg (La Buche, Felix and Lola) is arguably more popular. In My Wife is an Actress, Attal plays Yvan, a sports writer married to Charlotte (played by Gainsbourg), one of the most popular actors in France.

Yvan loves his wife, but does not understand the world she lives in. He likes the fact that he can get a seat at any restaurant anytime, but does not like having to wait while people interrupt them at dinner asking for Charlotte's autograph. My Wife is an Actress is a light, breezy look at what happens when paranoia gets the better of Yvan. Charlotte is working in London on a new movie with star John (Terrence Stamp, Red Planet, Bowfinger), a suave, handsome actor. Everywhere that Yvan goes, people remind him of how gorgeous both John and Charlotte are. Since John and Charlotte are in London and Yvan is in Paris, he has plenty of time to imagine the worst possible consequences. His paranoia and constant questioning of Charlotte's potential affections towards John causes her to actually question them.

Although My Wife is an Actress does have some serious moments, it is not meant to be a hard look at this relationship. In fact, Attal stumbles a little when trying to resolve all the issues at the end. It feels exactly like a movie - things are resolved because the movie is over, not because anything is fixed. But Attal probably did not mean for his film to delve into seriousness, too many of the predicaments that Yvan faces say otherwise. A genuine sense of affection between the two stars greatly helps the film. The two argue, but are clearly deeply in love with each other. It also helps that Attal contrasts the relationship between Yvan and Charlotte with that of Yvan's sister Nathalie (Noemie Lvovsky) and her husband Vincent (Belphegor, Phantom of the Louvre, Mortal Transfer), who are also in love with each other, but argue much more. Nathalie and Vincent have a much more tempestuous relationship. Nathalie is pregnant, and the two are currently arguing over whether or not to circumcise the child (if it is a boy). Nathalie is Jewish and Vincent is not. Watching them interact is not that fun, mainly because they argue so much that it begins to get annoying. However, it does make one better appreciate the subtler interactions between Attal and Gainsbourg.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 35 minutes, English and French with English subtitles, Rated R for language, and nudity/sexuality.

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