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“The perfect wife”: emancipation comedy with Juliette Binoche

“The Perfect Wife”
Emancipation comedy with Juliette Binoche

Juliette Binoche (center) as Paulette Van der Beck, the director of a home economics school in Alsace.

Juliette Binoche (center) as Paulette Van der Beck, the director of a home economics school in Alsace.

© ONE Filmverleih

The French comedy “The Perfect Wife” with Juliette Binoche is entertaining, among other things, because times have changed.

“Chocolat” (2001), “The fabulous world of Amélie” (2001), “Welcome to the Sch’tis” (2008), “Pretty best friends” (2011), “Monsieur Claude and his daughters” (2014), “Pear Cake with Lavender” (2015) … lovable French tragic comedies make it into the German spotlight again and again.

The film “The Perfect Wife” (theatrical release: August 5th) with Oscar winner Juliette Binoche (57, “The English Patient”) could also succeed – although the circumstances for a cinema success these days are known to be much more difficult.

This is what “The Perfect Wife” is all about

What does a young woman need for a successful future? Paulette Van der Beck (Juliette Binoche), the director of a home economics school in Alsace, knows it. Together with her sister-in-law Gilbert (Yolande Moreau, 68, “The fabulous world of Amélie”) and sister-in-law Marie-Thérèse (Noémie Lvovsky, 56), she taught her students in the late 1960s what they knew to be perfect wives and housewives must be able to.

Only the finances are not for Paulette, after all, something like that is a man’s business. But that turns out to be fatal, because one day she has to find out that her institute is on the verge of ruin – and then she runs into her first love again. And as if that weren’t enough, now, in May 1968, suddenly there is also a breeze of rebellious feminist ideas blowing from Paris towards Paulette’s school, which the students willingly suck up …


Anyone who liked the films mentioned at the beginning should also like this one. But apart from the entertainment value of the highly detailed flick, a usual charming Juliette Binoche and notable supporting actors, the film actually draws a kind of social balance sheet.

Because it shows the enormous progress that the emancipation movement has already brought to the lives of women in this country. Rules like “A good housewife is first and foremost there for her husband” are no longer ingrained into the girls and young women of today. You can easily get your own account. And they have long been wearing all kinds of trousers.

Only the end of the colorful film, when the teacher and her students sing the names of famous feminists like Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) or artists like Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) on the country road to Paris, has an effect after the sometimes even satirical scenes a little cheesy.




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