Look At Me

Lolita (Marilou Berry) is twenty, a talented singer and the daughter of Etienne Cassard (Jean-Pierre Bacri), a famous author and publisher whom she can guilt-trip into giving her things. She is also fat, which in the Paris world of her father and his young trophy wife (Virginie Desarnauts) represents a social faux pas that leaves her ignored by society and especially by him. Her lovers use her to get close to her dad, and in a subtler way so does Sylvia (Agnes Jaoui), her music teacher, who is married to Pierre (Laurent Grevill), a novelist Etienne could put on the literary map.

Jaoui, directing her second film (following 2000's The Taste of Others), captures the stings that come with living near the flame of success. And the script she wrote with Bacri, her co-star and husband, is a model of nuance. Then there's the marvel of the ensemble acting, from the flamboyance of Bacri as a monstrous ego run amok to the delicacy of Jaoui as the moralist run aground. And Berry dazzles as the girl who uses her art and her stubborn will to avoid sliding into victimhood. This bonbon spiked with malice is a triumph for Jaoui, who takes witty and wounding measure of the small betrayals that leave bruises on us all.

From The Archives Issue 408: November 10, 1983
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