Orchestra Seats (Fauteuils D'Orchestre) (12)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner21/02/2007

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Enjoyable, fluffy comedy drama with superb dialogue and a charming lead performance from rising star Cecile de France.

What's it all about?
Cecile de France plays Jessica, an attractive young woman with a pixie-ish haircut whose grandmother's tales of working near luxury inspire her to get a job as a waitress in a Champs-Elysees cafe opposite a theatre, an art gallery and a concert hall. Soon she is mingling with all sorts of artistic types, including neurotic actress Catherine (Valérie Lemercier), ageing art collector Jacques (Claude Brasseur) and gifted concert pianist Jean-Francois (Albert Dupontel).

The three artists each have their own problems (Catherine is desperate to land an A list role with a visiting American director, Jean-Francois feels stifled by the limelight and wants to give it up etc) and Jessica gradually inveigles her way into their lives and begins to meddle, Amelie-style.

The Good
Cecile de France gives an utterly charming, guileless performance in the lead role, which is fortunate because in less skilled hands Jessica could have been really annoying. Lemercier is superb as Catherine and her rants about A list actresses (Bellucci? Pah!) provide some of the film's funniest scenes.

There's also strong support from Sydney Pollack (as that well known American director Brian Sobinski), Claude Brasseur (whose scenes are surprisingly moving) and Annelise Hesme (the girl from the Renault Clio ads), in an underwritten role that nonetheless lights up the screen whenever she appears.

The Bad
The dialogue is sharply written throughout and the actors are clearly enjoying themselves. However, although the film is enjoyable enough to watch, it doesn't really add up to all that much and you might find yourself wondering, Was that it? at the end.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is the arthouse equivalent of a Friday night popcorn flick. It's perfectly enjoyable while you're watching it, but it's not likely to stay with you very long.

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Content updated: 12/12/2017 02:27

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