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‘Driving Madeleine’ Evaluation: A Nonagenarian in Paris

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A prickly cabdriver positive aspects perspective due to a chatty nonagenarian.

Sound vaguely acquainted? From “Driving Miss Daisy” to “Inexperienced E-book,” there’s a complete subgenre of feel-good social drama by which unlikely connections are fashioned between passengers and drivers. “Driving Madeleine,” directed by Christian Carion, takes this dynamic and scrubs it of any actual friction, like race or class.

As an alternative, it’s a heart-warmer about respecting your elders. Within the movie, a shiny modern-day Paris is ready towards the non-public historical past of a lady in her 90s named Madeleine (Line Renaud), whose life has echoes in main touchstones in historical past: World Struggle II, the Vietnam Struggle, the ladies’s rights actions of the Nineteen Seventies.

The majority of the movie unfolds over half a day. Charles (Dany Boon), a surly driver, takes a gig transporting Madeleine from her place within the suburbs to a retirement residence, however in between the 2 take a drive by way of her outdated neighborhood — stopping for a loo break, then a meal — and cope with the horrors of Parisian site visitors.

Charles’s paycheck will get fatter because the meter runs, however as Madeleine regales him with tales of her affair with an American G.I. — and, extra shockingly, an tried homicide case involving her abusive ex-husband — their relationship sweetens into a real friendship. Flashback scenes of those fiery melodramas (Alice Isaaz performs younger Madeleine) run alongside lackluster bonding moments. Etta James’s “At Final” performs repeatedly, forcing a soulfulness the movie doesn’t possess.

Boon is greatest often called a star and director of middlebrow comedies in his native France (Individuals might acknowledge him because the Parisian inspector in each “Homicide Thriller” motion pictures), however in “Driving Madeleine” he performs it straight, unconvincingly in order he seems again at his passenger with a rictus grin. Together with her glowing child blues and honey-dipped voice, Renaud comes off like an angel — a becoming function for the French icon and songstress, even when which means she’s much less human because of this.

Driving Madeleine
Not rated. In French, with subtitles. Working time: 1 hour 31 minutes. In theaters.