A sweet trifle of a film, taken to a deeper and richer level by two outstanding performances.
Gerard Depardieu, in what must be his 6,000th film still feels fresh and alive as the overweight,
under educated and well meaning laborer who can hardly read, and who strikes up a chance
friendship with the 94 year old Margueritte, played with amazing delicacy and life force by the
wonderful Gisele Casadesus, who was an astounding 95 herself when this was made. Oh that
we all should live so long with such grace.
Marguritte begins reading to the quasi-literate Germain, who finds his interest in reading sparked,
and with it an expanded sense of self. He even finds himself falling in love (in a chaste almost
childlike way) with the still beautiful Margueritte.
Simplistic, sure, sentimental, undoubtedly. But much like Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman in
`Driving Miss Daisy' these two actors give performances that make you want to forgive anything
that might otherwise feel trite or too on the nose (e.g. the very literal flashbacks to Germain's childhood).
Not quite a great film, but a charming, sweet, life-affirming and very human one.