Reviewer: James Van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): ***½
We look to the films of Agnès Jaoui -- The Taste of Others, Look at Me, and now Let It Rain (Parlez-moi de la pluie) -- for a kind of confirmation: the suggestion that life, however harried and bizarre, is full of marvelous little things, moments sad or sweet and often funny that quietly resonate. There are plenty of these moments in the writer/director/actress' new film. The husband in bed at the end of the day, feeling abandoned because his wife is reading; the French-Algerian young man who has decided to make a documentary and now must endure round-after-round of eyebrow-raising from the "French"; there's even a scene of characters getting high on pot that manages, against all odds, to break new ground.
Less apparently satiric than The Taste of Others, and not as dark as Look at Me, Let It Rain tracks a would-be politician (played with relish and strength by Jaoui); her current squeeze, the ever-affecting Frédéric Pierrot (Capitaine Conan); her sister and that "abandoned" hubby; the documentary men, played by the singularly delightful Jamel Debbouze (Days of Glory) and Jaoui's real-life significant-other Jean-Pierre Bacri; the housekeeper of the family (also the Debbouze character's mother), and a handful more of real but quirky people who bounce in and out of the situation -- which grows funnier, richer and quite a bit more complex as things progress.
Jaoui likes to thrust us into the middle and let us find our bearings as we can, so it takes awhile for the film to coalesce. But the characters seem so real and well-limned that most art-film audiences are likely to hang on and slowly-but-happily go with it. The film offers a great deal of insight into French politics, family, farming, the immigration/"other" situation and, of course, lessons in amour. One of the best scenes takes place at the home of brother farmers who provide food both literally and for thought for our would-be politician and her film-making pair.
The DVD for Let It Rain from MPI Home Video (of this IFC Films release) offers scant extras but there is a short "Making of" documentary.
Note: See also my interview with director Jaoui as originally posted on my blog.
Bookmark/Search this post with: