Madame – Review
by Anaida Sotia
Madame, written and directed by Amanda Sthers, a renowned French artist, is an example of a film with excellent initiative, but poor follow-through. We follow Anne Fredericks (Tony Collette), Bob Fredericks’ (Harvey Keitel), golden-clad trophy wife, as she hosts a dinner party. Bob decides to add a 13th guest to Anne’s perfect list of 12, which triggers her superstition and leads her to recruit a 14th guest – their maid, Maria (Rosy De Palma).
Thus begins a long chain of events that finds Anne’s character rapidly unraveling to show what we had suspected from the beginning: she is spoiled, delusional and envious of anything and everything she could potentially have, but doesn’t yet. I can remember a particularly entertaining moment when she complains to her therapist about ‘how difficult life has been for her’, the golf instructor turned millionaire wife, currently living in metropolitan Paris. Maria’s development is equally amusing if not predictable as it follows a Cinderella storyline, albeit sans benevolent fairy godmother.
It pains me to say I found Rossy De Palma disappointing in her role. Her artistic arsenal contains the perfect elements for her to deliver this character to us – but she sadly fails to. Her cries ‘But not me, Madame!’, as Anne maneuvers her around her closet, ring utterly hollow. In fact, I would like to call out Tony Collette for literally pulling up this movie by the bootstraps. Anne is the epitome of what is wrong with wealthy people, and it should have been easy to juxtapose her against her lowly maid who did nothing but attend a dinner party and fall in love with a rich man.
And yet the repartee that should have happened does not, and the film suffers. I won’t even dare touch upon the unresolved feats of social commentary that are tackled and left unresolved. I enjoyed watching them play out, but felt underwhelmed at the lack of any conclusion.