The Trouble with You is an absurdist French comedy that’s both clever and silly. I didn’t know whether to delight in its eccentricities or howl at its stupidity, so I flipped from one to the other and back again.
Let’s be clear on one thing – the plot is ridiculous. Detective Yvonne Santi (Adèle Haenel) is the widow of a former police chief. He was a local hero who died in the line of duty. Two years after his death, Yvonne is shocked to learn her husband wasn’t exactly the paragon of virtue so idolised by their young son. Even worse, she discovers that an innocent young man, Antoine (Pio Marmaï), has spent eight years in prison as the chief’s scapegoat. Yvonne now wants to do anything she can to help Antoine get back to life as he had known it with his wife Agnes (Audrey Tautou). Anything that is, except telling the truth.
Co-writer and director Pierre Salvadori had been thinking about an innocent man who, after being released, decides to commit a crime for which he was wrongly convicted. Then a chance conversation with his mother revealed that she had always portrayed his father in a more favourable light than was true.
Notwithstanding these ideas, The Trouble with You lacks credibility. I didn’t buy into it or any of the central characters, except one. That was Theo (Olivier Bossuet) the boy who dotes on his dead father and looks forward to his mother’s exaggerated stories about his bravery. While I understand Yvonne wanting to make right with Antoine, I drew the line once she saw he was prone to violence. Further, little, if any, chemistry sparked between Yvonne and her dead husband’s partner, Louis (Damien Bonnard), even though that’s what we’re being sold.
Audrey Tautou does all she can in a limited role as Agnes.
The film is, at times, particularly violent – uncomfortably so for a comedy. Still, there are a handful of genuinely funny moments produced via visual gags and slapstick humour.
Director: Pierre Salvadori
Cast: Adèle Haenel, Pio Marmaï, Audrey Tautou
Release Date: 18 April 2019
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.