The Midwife (Sage Femme)
Director: Martin Provost
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Catherine Frot, Olivier Gourmet, Quentin Dolmaire
Language : French with English subtitles
Country of Origin: France 2016 117 mins. (12A)
Released by Curzon Artificial Eye
Claire (Catherine Frot) a dedicated, talented, compassionate midwife, nearing retirement at a struggling Paris maternity clinic, is in mid life crisis mode. Everything's changing with efficiency-driven methods of the modern hospitals prove unattractive. If that's not bad enough, up pops Beatrice (Catherine Deneuve), her late father's mistress. There's no welcoming hug. Beatrice walked out 30 years ago when Claire was young, her heart broken father committed suicide and the bitter memory remains. Life's a struggle being a single mother but Claire's got hopes for her medical student son Simon (Quentin Dolmaire) and her vegetable garden's a welcome refuge with admirer truck driver Paul (terrific Olivier Gourmet) hoping that he's in with a chance.
Free spirited, drama queen Beatrice loves a glass of Bordeaux with cuts of prime beef and the thrill of a card game when she's short of cash. Can these two polar opposites reconcile? Beatrice has a brain tumour and medics suggest one year.
Fron and wonderfully nutty Deneuve are terrific together and Olivier Gourmet's spot on, hoping to bring love into Claire's life. Some lovely touches and Deneuve wins the day, but this reflection on times past is a bit too long and doesn't quite hit the button.