Paulette (R)

This week I’m throwing in a Throwback Thursday review of a French comedy from 2012 that I viewed on Amazon Prime.  Sometimes you want to see something you’ve not seen before but you just don’t feel like going out to the theater, and why would you have to when we have a host of streaming services at our convenience to choose from.  You can’t always find something worth watching or that you haven’t already seen without a lot of scrolling and searching, so I thought I would offer one recommendation that I really enjoyed.  If you get a chance to watch it I think you will enjoy it as well.

In the opening scene of 2012’s Paulette (French with English subtitles ), starring Bernadette Lafont, we find Paulette young and full of life, getting married and eventually opening a successful family bakery with her husband.  Many years later the bakery has been lost due to her husband’s alcoholism.  Paulette is widowed, and she finds herself living alone in a slummy housing project.  Because her daughter married a black man (who happens to be a cop) and has a black son, they are somewhat estranged.  Paulette baby sits the boy while her daughter works but shows him no love or affection, referring to him as “Jigaboo” – and not in a loving, grandmotherly sort of way either (if that is even possible).  Black people are on her “list” along with others she dislikes or distrusts, such as Asians and Arabs.  Paulette reaches a point where she can no longer make ends meet with her meager pension, so she decides to supplement her income by selling drugs.  The plot is full of hilarious possibilities, and it delivers quite successfully.

This movie features great acting and contains a number of funny scenes and situations: a woman in her 70’s negotiating with some pretty rough drug dealers regarding her cut on what she sells, figuring out exactly what the hell she is supposed to do with a brick of hashish to get it into those little bags and how much to charge people for the bags, keeping her son-in-law out of her business and the rest of the police force at bay when her business begins to take off and keeping her friends and her daughter in the dark; all while keeping her love interest from across the hall at arms-length (he lusts after her intensely, but the feeling is not mutual), baby sitting her grandson, keeping up with her social obligations, reworking her entire business plan following a setback, and trying not to be detected by the rival drug dealers with whom she “shares” drug turf.

That’s a lot of balls to keep in the air and Paulette is not always successful, but the story is whimsical, touching and sweet, overall.

Selling weed does more for Paulette than allow her to pay her outstanding bills.  Thankfully, this is a story about Paulette’s metamorphoses from an old, bitter, washed up, broke, broken, bigot, to a more caring, more energetic and open minded person.  It is the unveiling of the person she once was earlier in life, before she allowed life’s pitfalls to make her bitter and cold.

Paulette earns 8.5 out of 10 bloops.  It is a very good film that will definitely make you laugh.  Check it out on Amazon Prime when you get a chance.

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