Film Review: Iris And The Men

FIFTY+SA Arts Reviewer, Dave Bradley, shares his thoughts on Iris And The Men screening as part of this year’s French Film Festival at Palace Nova.

Co-writer and director Caroline Vignal’s follow-up to her multi-titled Antoinette In The Cévennes again stars the busy Laure Calamy, who gives it humour, heart, and hormones.

Inspired by a divorced friend’s experience on dating apps, Vignal’s pic has Laure as a 50-something Parisian dentist named Iris Beaulieu, who still loves her husband Stéphane (Vincent Elbaz) and yet feels that they’ve lost their sexual spark: she says that things are “dead between us”. Advised by an eavesdropping acquaintance (cameoing Olivia Côte, Laure’s co-star in Antoinette and Two Tickets To Greece) to take a lover, Iris gets on an app that looks like a fancy French version of Tinder, which isn’t surprising since director Vignal herself went Tinder-ing for a few months. But only for research!

Iris begins to secretly meet a series of men of all types and, although put off by the needy first one (Sylvain Katan), she’s soon in bed with almost all of them and feeling spiritually reawakened. This makes for some amusing and saucy sequences, and yet it all feels a bit, shall we say, easy: note that Iris’ husband and daughters don’t suspect anything for an awfully long time, and that all the guys that she meets (including ‘No Vanilla’, played by Alexandre Steiger) are nice and understanding, instead of sleazy and dangerous. Indeed, this could have, with a few tweaks, been a tense and creepy psychological drama.

Nevertheless, Vignal’s latest is worth seeing for Laure, who’s rapidly turning into the new Isabelle ‘No Movie Gets Made In France Without Me!’ Huppert.

And she can dance!

Iris And The Men is screening as part of this year’s French Film Festival at Palace Nova

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