Friday, November 01, 2019

"frankie": a different destination

"frankie": Isabelle Huppert dans la disparition graduelle de une jeune fille. à plus tard.

During the past decade or so, we've experienced various examples of The New Normal, including destination events grounded in the current wide-spread narcissism.The Destination Wedding, of course, is one example

The Destination Bar Mitzvah, another case in point.

It takes an astute mind to bring a newer, shrewder layer to this self-addiction - and filmmaker Ira Sachs rather wittily and poignantly manages to push matters to yet another level with ... Destination Funeral, a conceit that not only works surprisingly well (to a limited degree) but functions perfectly in tandem with his star's commanding persona.

That would be the iconic Isabelle Huppert whose character here is in the throes of death and is intent on spreading the word to family and friends, but in only one specific location for her passing and funeral - the dreamy, sun-dappled Portuguese seaside town of Sintra.

The movie, with the real-time feel of an unrushed afternoon, consists of Huppert performing acting duets with her wonderful supporting cast - sharing secrets, expressing regrets and often testing them with a dour playfulness that's wholly suitable for this very unusual occasion.

She's Françoise Crémont, known as a great actress but whose greatness has often minimalized other aspects of her life  Her outsized personality, so crucial on stage and screen, has worked out with decidedly different results with family and friends. On hand to attest to this are Frankie's first husband, Michel (Pascal Greggory); her current husband, Jimmy (Brendon Gleeson) and Jimmy's family from his first marriage; Paul (Jérémie Renier), her son with Jimmy; Frankie's best friend Ilene (a terrific Marisa Tomei) and Ilene's hanger-on, would-be fiance Gary (Greg Kinnear). All great company.

But this is clearly Isabelle's film - her year, in fact. What with the film, "Greta" and her success on stage in "The Mother" (two more title roles), Huppert is experiencing something of a new destination herself. An invigorating second act.

'Frankie" opens today in San Francisco and Palo Alto.

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(from top)

~Isabelle Huppert on stage during Florian Zeller's play, "The Mother" 
~photography: Ahron R. Foster 1960© 

 ~Huppert in her a publicity shot for her movie debut in Otto Preminge's "Rosebud." Age 22
~photography: Paramount 1975©

~Forty years later - Huppert today. Age 66.
~photography: Eurovision 2019©


Catherine R. said...

Wow! This movie sounds great. She looks better at 66 than at 22, a rare feat. Move over, Deneuve.

k.o. said...

A most formidable actress, pronounced the French way!

Benedict said...

For years, I’ve admired this remarkable and remarkably challenging actress. So happy that 2019 has brought her so much well-deserved recognition. Thank you for taking part in celebrating her.

Bill Wolfe said...

She was terrific in an episode of "Law & Order: SVU" from 2010 called "Shattered." As a mother trying to come to terms with the death of son who was kidnapped, Huppert was truly harrowing, ravaged and beyond reason. It's the kind of performance that is rarely, if ever, seen on an episodic weekly American TV show - or in American movies, for that matter.