Let It Rain
French filmmaker Jaoui (The Taste of Others, Look at Me) is frequently compared to Woody Allen, but a closer cognate would be Nicole Holofcener (Friends With Money, Please Give). Allen at his best was funnier, but the two women understand infinitely more about the murky workings of the human heart than the solipsist who once famously said of that organ that it “wants what it wants.”
Jaoui’s powers of observation have never been sharper than in this melancholy comedy of manners. The filmmaker herself is prima inter pares in an excellent ensemble cast as Agathe, a hard-charging feminist politician picked by her party to run against an unbeatable incumbent. The slacker son of her extended family’s Algerian housekeeper, an aspiring filmmaker named Karim (Debbouze), exploits that tenuous point of access to persuade Agathe to be the subject of a documentary for a film series about successful women. Neither is aware that Karim’s flaky, pot-addled co-director, Michel (Bacri), is conducting an affair with Agathe’s thin-skinned, unhappily married sister, Pascale (Arbillot). The ineptitude of the filmmakers turns the shooting of the doc into a series of social and logistical disasters, the cascading fallout begins to further undermine both Agathe’s hopeless campaign and her wobbly relationship with long-term boyfriend Antoine (Pierrot). Half-hidden among the emotional wreckage are cagey political subtexts about class, gender and race relations.