Who’s the ugliest French comédien in a romantic lead?
La Fille de Monaco with Fabrice Luchini
Avec an introduction to French popular cinema
Disregard Depardieu, who even les français have to admit wasn’t even handsome in his prime Cyrano de Bergerac days, and who now weighs over three hundred pounds, urinates on airplane seats and has purchased Russian citizenship in order to avoid paying French taxes. There is something vraiment paradoxical about French romantic male leads. Contrary to what one would assume of an amorous screen hero —- that he should be sexy, enticing and hunky —- the French protagonist is, well, mostly moche.
It can be argued facilement that Daniel Craig, Gerard Butler and Owen Wilson aren’t even remotely foxy, but at least Hollywood has Bradley Cooper, George Clooney and Ryan Gosling to make up for it. One captivating French lead actor playing passionate parts that I actually find simultaneously attractive and talented isn’t even French-by-descent (what the politically incorrect French might call “a real French.”) Sami Bouajila is Grenoble-banlieu born of Tunisian parents, which is basically like being Black in America in the 1960’s before Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? But it’s plausible that he could woo both Audrey Tatou and her mother (yes, he has sex with both) in Des Vrais Mensonges.
D’accord, so Jean Dujardin isn’t half-bad when he’s sporting a mustache, like in his Hollywood-crossover flick The Artist, or when he plays an ignorant spy à la Naked Gun in the OSS 117 series (for example, Rio ne répond pas).
But put long hair on him as in the anti-advertising, Tarantino-esque 99 Francs, or watch him as a “regular guy” on his television series Un Gar, Une Fille (where he met his wife, incidentally) and you’ll start to question his allure.
Jean Dujardin and wife Alexandra Lamy’s television series “Un Gars, Une Fille”
Il y a aussi something so carnally sexy about Jean Reno that makes you forget that he’s not at all delicately good-looking. But, tell me please, what I am missing about the magnetism or the foxiness of this guy:
It’s when the THIRD women enters his life that Almaric’s vie sexuelle becomes difficult in Comment je me suis disputé. I am still wondering how he scored the prémiere.
It’s hard enough that I can’t identify as the woman-character and don’t want to relate as the male. What makes these actors even harder to watch is their obsession with imitating Woody Allen, autrement dit, neurotic, and self-loathing and stylized to the point of parody. What makes a short, oversized-cargo-pants-wearing, balding man an ideal sex symbol for an entire nation? Even Julie Delpy wants to be Woody, or at least write films that reflect his angsty, codified whining! In the less than mediocre Two Days in Paris, I am not sure if it’s Delpy’s character or her boyfriend who do a better imitation of the man.
Denis Podalydès also impersonates Allen in the film written, directed and starring Denis himself: Adieu Berthe - L’enterrement de mémé:
There is no way in hell that Podalydés would have ever got either the wife, Isabelle Candelier, or the mistress, Valerie Lemercier, in non-celluloid reality. It’s a shame (but unfortunately, commonplace) that both women are extremely capable actresses. In this film, however, they are obligated to suffer the stereotypes of a suspicious, cuckolding wife and a shrewish, silly mistress, both of which apparently Podalydès is to good for. Enfin, I’m not a critic, but how did Podalydès become a film star? Does acting talent need not apply?
I’m just as surprised….
The worst affront, in my opinion, is Fabrice Luchini. His acting’s not terrible, but he’s not even parenthetically sexy (pale, small, hair in the wrong places) or even remotely good-looking:
I just can’t be convinced that he could seduce, have sex with and make women fall in love with him. I know there must be a certain suspension of disbelief in films, but is it really plausible that he could end up happily ever after when he pretends to be a psychiatrist, listens to a woman’s most shameful secrets, then has sex with her as her pretended-doctor? Confidences trop intimes is not just too intimate; it’s just too implausible. At least the part where Luchini is a seducer, at any rate.
Perhaps French cinema suffers the same nerdy-boys-gone-cool syndrome as Hollywood. Now that producer Harvey Weinstein has the money and the power to buy (and do) whatever he wants, he can guarantee that the lead actor in a film he finances resembles his own high school virgin, repelling-all-girls-self. Peut-être it’s revenge for not having been the jock. Or éventuellement it’s merely another fantasy, as simply childish as gratuitiously violent shoot-em-ups (like the completely unnecessary film Seven Psychopaths). Possiblement, it’s as complicated as Lacanian and Freudian childhood sexual development psychoanalysis: some kind of mirror stage repetition trauma in which the hero must live out both self-disgust and self-recognition à la fois.
Sally Field exclaimed, “You like me, you really like me!” In real life, we wouldn’t look twice at these attention-grubbing men. But as the star of a moneymaking motion picture, quite a few of us might turn our heads.
What do you think about my choices? Am I missing something? Have I forgotten some handsome actors? Let me know and comment below!
Expression of the Day:
Est-ce qu’on t’as deja dit que tu ressembles vachement à Gerard Depardieu…?
Has anyone ever told you that you look like Gerard…?
In: Days-old facial stubble, receding hairlines and ill-fitting pants = sexy!
Out: Actually starting a conversation with someone you are attracted to instead of playing complicated games that resemble the nonsense of the hitting and hair-pulling of first grade
Les Mots en Français:
Beau gosse (BG): a hottie
Comédien: actor (of any genre)
Les Français: The French People (french flag pic)
Moche: ugly (slang)
Vraiment: really, truly
Grenoble-banlieu: Grenoble is a town bordering the Alps and Switzerland in mid-eastern France. The banlieu means suburb, but has the connotation of a ghetto.
Il y a aussi: There is also
La vie sexuelle: sexual life
Autrement dit: in other words
Enfin: filler word, like okay
à la fois: simultaneously
right there, to the right, see it?