The Concert

Stringing if Mild Success

         
 

29 July 2010| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

Ever see a Euro comedy that doesn’t rouse you but at least sedates you into a pleasantly mild and besotted state? The Concert (“Le Concert”) has at least two characters you care about in its large ensemble – they are undeclared father and daughter, whoa! – but with a splash of Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in D Major music and that’s enough to crack a smile before a sight of French comedy uplift. The daughter is amazing. The daughter is played by Melanie Laurent (“Inglorious Basterds”).

Thirty years after the dark days of Communism stole his profession, Andrei Filipov (Aleksei Guskov), a once renowned conductor of the Bolshoi orchestra, is now a lowly janitor at the Russia opera. Intercepting a fax, he decides impromptu to reassemble his lost orchestra and storm Paris to perform at the Chatelat Theater. If this isn’t reckless enough, Andrei and his friends turn this into an epic ersatz voyage (it’s been a long time since outside Russia!) But the French are more than ready to be hospitable, but they cut corners, too.

What we have here are Russian slobs, with musical talent, invading the French. The real Bolshoi head department cannot find out, not unless a premiere documentary hits the cable waves, one supposes. Restaurant, hotel and boat rides on the Seine river that fill out the demands of this fake motley crew. Meanwhile, Andrei has the more intimate request of having a French violinist virtuoso join their orchestra for the special event. Now isn’t Melanie Laurent, as violinist Anne-Marie Jacquet, easily one of the most beautiful and sublime women on the planet?

The second half of the movie is less funny. Perhaps because the obvious jokes are played out at length, and because the storyline gets schmaltzy. Lots of amusing scenes, however. Laurent radiates in her every scene whether she goes for drama or comedy. You are grateful for her scenes. Your heart is warmed by her presence, not because she inflects any great human insight in her slightly written character but because, she’s just damn beautiful. Her eyes are obsessive, her lips are mysterious, her poise is classy. The concert finale is a certifiable triumph that celebrates anything and everything that matters, even family matters of father and daughter sharing a united moment. Not truly believed, but nice.

In French with English subtitles.

119 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

FOREIGN / FRENCH COMEDY / MILD SATURDAY AFTERNOON MOVIE

Film Cousins: “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964, France); “The Chorus” (2004, France); “Avenue Montaigne” (2007, France); “Coco Before Chanel” (2009, France).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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