looks considerably younger than her husband Philippe, but he still practices
dentistry, whereas she has retired. That means she has time on her hands. Much to
her surprise, she will find things to do at an upscale senior center that
happens to employ a much younger but surprisingly receptive personal computing
teacher. Fanny Ardant takes a diva turn in Marion Vernoux’s adultery drama Bright Days Ahead (trailer here), which screened
during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival.
is not adapting well to retirement. When her grown daughters buy her a trial
membership at the Bright Days Ahead senior’s club, she nearly has a fit. You
can hardly blame her—a name like that sounds like some sort of rehab clinic.
Reluctantly, she starts going to Julien’s computer classes when their home PC
goes on the Fritz. Before long, some cougar-himbo hanky-panky commences. Unfortunately, her increasing recklessness leads
to inevitable exposure.
with the not exactly jaw-dropping age difference between the not-so secret lovers,
Bright is a pretty standard exercise in
cinematic infidelity. Yes, Ardant still has it, but what distinguishes Vernoux’s
otherwise conventional screenplay (co-written with Fanny Chesnel) are a handful
of blisteringly honest scenes and a quiet gut-check performance from Patrick
Chesnais as the wronged husband.
is indeed wronged, a fact that Vernoux and Chesnel do nothing to water-down. Refusing
to be conveniently submissive, he is a dignified yet emotionally messy rebuke
to the of pat empowerment themes often bandied about by adulterous wife movies.
Similarly, Caroline goes into the affair remarkably clear-headed, even helping
Julien keep up appearances with his younger lovers. However, you might have to
be a sixty-some year old French woman to appreciate the charms of Laurent
Without question, it is the veterans Ardant and
Chesnais who make Bright work to the
extent it does, particularly in their scenes together. Rather undistinguished
looking, it still has enough incisive moments that pop to make the whole
worthwhile. Recommended for Francophiles, Bright
Days Ahead has already opened in New York at the Quad Cinema, following its
American premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. It also screens this
Sunday (5/4) at the Montclair Film Film Festival in Jersey.
Labels: Fanny Ardant, French Cinema, Infidelity movies, Tribeca '14