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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off With Their Heads!
It's the waning days of the old regime in France. A conscientious but impoverished nobleman from the south travels to Versailles to petition the royal government for funds to drain his swamps so that his tenants can be spared periodic outbreaks of disease. Instead of finding the sympathetic ears he expected, he finds a government nearing bankruptcy, a well-intentioned...
Published on Nov. 10 2003 by H. M Pyles

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated not funny
The plot of the film is simple. A provincial nobleman wants to clear some swamps to help the poor old peasants of his area. The existence of the swamps leads to disease and a shortage of arable land. Attempts are made to get money from the government but to no avail.
Our intrepid hero decides that he will join the court of Louis the XVI to try to swing some...
Published on Feb. 2 2002 by Tom Munro


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Off With Their Heads!, Nov. 10 2003
By 
H. M Pyles (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It's the waning days of the old regime in France. A conscientious but impoverished nobleman from the south travels to Versailles to petition the royal government for funds to drain his swamps so that his tenants can be spared periodic outbreaks of disease. Instead of finding the sympathetic ears he expected, he finds a government nearing bankruptcy, a well-intentioned but befuddled king who is surrounded by a bureaucracy trying to temper the king's naive generosity and stave off the final collapse, and an aristocracy that has descended into a depraved comedy of manners. All substantive thought at court has been replaced by endless games of witticisms, whereby a person's social standing and political access are functions of mastering the art of the putdown . . . preferrably in as ascerbic a manner as possible.
To everyone's surprise -- including his own -- our hero turns out to be quite good at the art of malicious wit. First trying to use his new-found talent to speed up his campaign to drain his swamps, he soon succumbs to the appeal of the game for the game's sake. A series of events eventually snaps him back to reality, and therein lies the plot of the piece.
This is a supremely engaging costume piece. The cast is superb, the settings and costumes dead-on accurate, the dialog entertaining and sophisticated. In the end, it's really a gorgeously-filmed morality play about the triumph of conscience over wealth, power, and hollow social graces. The only real fault with the movie from a historical perspective is that it portrays Louis XVI as the affable nitwit of popular legend instead of the serious monarch overwhelmed by ultimately uncontrollable events that he really was.
This movie is so good at drawing you in that you soon cease to notice you're reading subtitles (at least if you don't speak fluent French). Although the plot hinges on the most delicate subtleties of 18th-century court French, the story telegraphs through with searing clarity. And it's a story for all times, all places, and all tongues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, nothing "wow", Jan. 20 2013
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Im giving this movie 4 out of 5, because it's a nice movie, but Im not in love with it, nor I watch it over and over again...What I most do like about it though, is how they portrayed the shame of being a target of "ridicule" at that time, being judge by others and how one bear the shame of not fitting in society.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic Invective, July 12 2004
By A Customer
Patrice Leconte's film on the pageantries and sophistries of King Louis XVI's Court, a place where there are many words flying about yet little substance in governance. The protagonist is Ponceludon de Malavoy (Charles Berling), a low-ranked nobleman who seeks a royal grant to drain the swamps plaguing his region. He is, unfortunately, a new-comer to the King's court and needs to be properly introduced to the King. He receives help from the Marquis de Bellegarde (Jean Rochefor) and his loving daughter (Judith Godrèche.) Malavoy also comes under the machinations of Madame de Blayac (Fanny Ardant) to befriend the King. As he navigates through the King's court, Malavoy is subjected to the invectives of sycophantic nobles who seek to exploit the King for their own petty needs. With little wealth and a low title, Malavoy soon realizes that the only weapon he has is his wit (esprit.) As he come closer to appealing to the King, he maneuvers his wit and invective as a musketeer wields his rapier. The script is excellent and the story is filled with the art of invective and wit. A perfect example of some of the witty encounters in the film is when the King asks Malavoy why he has made jokes of only the aristocracy but not of him? With a reserved smile Malavoy replies, "The King is not a subject your Majesty!"
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4.0 out of 5 stars Literate and Wicked, July 6 2004
By 
C. O. DeRiemer (San Antonio, Texas, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ridicule is a French film which takes place in 1783, a few years before Louis XVI lost the ability to wear a hat; where "...in this country, vices are without consequence, but ridicule can kill." The film is about the effect of wit and word play on people's lives and careers. Malicious, mannered and highly enjoyable. Charles Berling, Jean Rochefort, Bernard Giraudeau and Fanny Ardant are excellent. A man would be a fool not to want to bed Ardant, and even more a fool to trust her.
The film is sumptuously mounted and the DVD transfer does it justice. The dialogue is so clever a knowledge of French might be in order, but the English subtitles do a superb job of conveying the witty, cruel, self-serving word play.
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4.0 out of 5 stars About the DVD..., Jan. 14 2004
By A Customer
The DVD is pretty bare bones. You get a nice widescreen transfer (the full-screen VHS was pan and scan, so you do see more image with the widescreen) and surround sound. The English subtitles are not "burned in" to the image...you must activate them with the captions option on your DVD player.
The only "extra" is a commercial ballyhooing Miramax's achievements in recent years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be afraid of the subtitles...watch this film!, Dec 31 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Ridicule [VHS] (VHS Tape)
With its period setting and French dialogue this film may at first look like yet another costume drama yawner. Those brave enough to delve further will be rewarded with an amazing film that is not only beautifully photographed and well acted, but absolutely hilarious in all the right places.
Its too bad the subtitles will scare (American) viewers away from this totally engaging and accessible drama. What is amazing is how well a story centered on clever word-play manages to hold up despite being translated by subtitles.
And lets get this thing on DVD!
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you loved Dangeous Liaisons ....., July 8 2001
This review is from: Ridicule [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Ridicule is an immensely entertaining tale of passion, betrayal, love and deceit. A young nobleman journeys to King Louis XVI's court to plead for help for his peasants. He soon learns that his humanitarian chivalry is not appreciated but his quick wit is coinage of the realm. His life becomes complicated when it appears that he will be forced to chose between two woman: a cunning older noblewoman - who can help his cause, or an innocent young woman with little to offer but love.
Even if you don't normally enjoy subtitled films, I believe that you will find this movie to be clever and charming. The humour is wickedly funny and the performances are outstanding.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fable, NOT Dry Execise, Feb. 19 2001
This review is from: Ridicule [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Although the dialogue may be exquisite, in French, the tale is about the emptiness of all that, of course. Is it true that, once upon a time, French cinemas played "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" endlessly until occupying Germans flatly forbade such subversion? It could be. Works just fine with subtitles. Wonderful stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, funny and stylish - a great intro to foreign films, Dec 12 2000
By 
A reviewer (Birmingham, AL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ridicule [VHS] (VHS Tape)
'Ridicule' is a wonderful French film I rented and have enjoyed time and time again, even with some friends who hate films that they have to "read." If you dislike foreign films or films with captions, you're missing out if you haven't seen "Ridicule." Lavish costumes, great sets, and the attention paid to detail regarding the period are all incredible. Enjoy this sexy and intelligent romp through the bedrooms, the social politics, and the court of pre-revolutionary France where verbal up-man-ship could make or break one's social standing. A definite thumbs up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, funny and stylish - a great intro to foreign films, Dec 12 2000
By 
A reviewer (Birmingham, AL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ridicule [VHS] (VHS Tape)
'Ridicule' is a wonderful French film I rented and have enjoyed time and time again, even with some friends who hate films that they have to "read." If you dislike foreign films or films with captions, you're missing out if you haven't seen "Ridicule." Lavish costumes, great sets, and the attention paid to detail regarding the period are all incredible. Enjoy this sexy and intelligent romp through the bedrooms, the social politics, and the court of pre-revolutionary France where verbal up-man-ship could make or break one's social standing. A definite thumbs up.
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Ridicule
Ridicule by Patrice Leconte (VHS Tape)
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