Bertrand Blier, whose films usually have made sardonic fun of such staple themes as friendship and sexual relationships, has come up with a new charmer in Too Beautiful for You, this time bringing fresh insight to the old, old story of marital infidelity.
Gerard Depardieu plays a successful car dealer married to a sublimely beautiful woman (Carole Bouquet) to the envy of all his friends. Perversely, he falls passionately in love with a temporary secretary who comes to work for him – a plump, somewhat plain, middle-aged woman who would seem to be the least likely type to woo him away from his family. Josiane Balasko plays the sweet, sensual mistress with a warmth which makes Depardieu’s passion acceptable.
The plot is simple enough, but Blier keeps his audience in a constant state of surprise, and delight, with the complex but frequently funny way he tells his essentially banal story. Blier gleefully takes every cliche and turns it on its head, juggling time, allowing his characters to address the audience and including such genuinely charming scenes as one in which the blissful Balasko shares her happiness with a complete stranger at a railway station, telling him she’s been making love for the last three hours.
Two scenes in which the wife and the mistress meet, once in the office and again in the motel, are exquisitely written and acted emotional encounters. Another highlight is a complex flashback to the Depardieu/Bouquet wedding which is intercut with a dinner party they give for friends in the present.