Cherchez Hortense [Searching for Hortense] (2012)

Cherchez Hortense
Director: Pascal Bonitzer
Writer: Agnès de Sacy, Pascal Bonitzer
Cast: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Kristin Scott Thomas, Isabelle Carré, Marin Orcand Tourrès, Claude Rich
Part of: Viennale

Damien’s (Jean-Pierre Bacri) father Sébastien (Claude Rich) is a judge, so Damien’s wife Iva (Kristin Scott Thomas) asks Damien to ask Sébastien for help with the immigration papers of a friend of hers. Damien is reluctant, especially because he and his father don’t get along very well; and Sébastien is generally evasive. Generally there is a lot of tension between Iva and Damien and the lack of results in this matter doesn’t really help. And then Damien meets Aurore (Isabelle Carré) and things really start to get out of control.

Cherchez Hortense has all the necessary ingredients for a really strong film. But somehow it doesn’t get there. Instead it remains uneven and unsatisfying.

The cast was really good. Kristin Scott Thomas was amazing, but especially Claude Rich was just perfect and stole every scene. Especially the scene where Sébastien meets up with Damien in the Japanese restaurant and Damien is completely bowled over by Sébastien casually admitting to a homosexual affair with the waiter there, was all kinds of funny and amazing – and 90% of it due to Claude Rich. (Later, when Damien is alone with said waiter and they try to make that work again, it completely falls apart and crosses into icky territory, unfortunately. Though that was mostly due to the script.)

There were quite a few really funny moments. Unfortunately, as the film progresses it grows more and more frayed, starts to feel a little boring and the jokes don’t really work anymore.

I’m afraid that the movie just wanted a bit too much, and so it lost focus. There were just too many stories it wanted to tell and too many things it wanted to include. If it had toned that down a little bit, it might have worked better.

Despite that, it was rather entertaining. It just wasn’t great.

Summarising: Not as good as it should have been. Maybe if it had been more concise.


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