Simple as Sylvain: deliciously insolent (review)

Simple as Sylvain: deliciously insolent (review)

Love at first sight between a man and a woman who have everything opposite, starting with their social class. Monia Chokri's humor hits the mark again.

Sorry Mr. Nolan!“. On February 23, Monia Chokri won the César for best foreign film under the nose of Christopher Nolan and his Oppenheimer. A surprise, but certainly not a scandal. Presented at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard section, then awarded two prizes at the Cabourg Festival, Simple like Sylvain is a funny and spicy comedy about a nerd who falls in love with a carpenter. If you haven't yet seen the latest film from the brilliant Quebec director (My brother's wife, Baby sitter), take advantage of it, it has just been released on VOD (you can rent it on Première Max). The DVD will be available on April 2.

Watch Simple like Sylvain on VOD on Première Max

She is a professor of philosophy at the university. He is a construction worker. She is married to an intellectual. Him, “his blonde”, as he says, it's hunting and fishing. When Sophia and Sylvain see each other for the first time, she is this bourgeois woman who is having her second home renovated. He is her carpenter. Their meeting sparks. Sophia falls madly in love, Sylvain too. They begin an adulterous relationship, which becomes official. For him, she leaves everything behind. Her husband, her apartment, her reputation. But can we truly love each other when we are so different? Around them, the whole world seems to be conspiring against them ending up together. Behind the happy couple that Sophia and Sylvain form, the weight of all of our prejudices.

Let us say it from the outset, the question has been seen and reviewed. She had notably occupied Lucas Belvaux in his film Not his type – the story of a hairdresser who also meets a philosophy professor. Except that in Simple like Sylvain, Monia Chokri, with her caustic humor, undertakes to explore a fantasy that has become a cliché. The staging is deliberately kitsch, as kitsch as this bourgeois woman in search of exoticism. The director deliberately scratches her heroine, who lovingly corrects her lover's grammatical errors when they say words of love to each other on the telephone. It's funny, very funny. As funny as his brilliant and insolent first film, My brother's wife, in which the director portrayed herself as a neurotic thirty-something. At Monia Chokri, neuroses are always good.

Emma Poesy

Of Monia Chokri. With Magalie Lépine-Blondeau, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Francis- William Rhéaume… Duration 1h50. Released November 8, 2023

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