French Exit

The idle rich in the City of Light
Sony Pictures Classics
by
ABR Arts 19 March 2021

French Exit

The idle rich in the City of Light
Sony Pictures Classics
by
ABR Arts 19 March 2021
Michelle Pfeiffer as Frances Price and Lucas Hedges as Malcolm in French Exit (Sony Pictures Classics)
Michelle Pfeiffer as Frances Price and Lucas Hedges as Malcolm in French Exit (Sony Pictures Classics)

‘My plan was to die before the money ran out,’ says Manhattan socialite Frances Price (Michelle Pfeiffer) when confronted with the fact that, after a lifetime of wealth and privilege, she is soon to become insolvent. This rationalisation on the part of our glamorous, widowed heroine tells us a lot about her, and a lot about the film French Exit: they are both unfailingly sardonic, somewhat ill-conceived, and utterly preoccupied with death. The film comes from the Patrick deWitt’s 2018 novel of the same name, and deWitt serves as the sole screenwriter. This also marks the second collaboration between deWitt and director Azazel Jacobs (Terri, 2011), which suggests a certain synergy, a healthy creative continuity from page to screen. It’s all the more disheartening, then, that the film adaptation feels so unfocused; a collection of missed opportunities hinged around a stellar central performance from Pfeiffer.

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