Cert 12A 117mins Stars 3

Not to be confused with the popular BBC Sunday evening drama, this is a philosophical French musing on the pressures of women in midlife.

Catherine Deneuve achieved notoriety playing a bored middle class housewife who moonlights as a prostitute in 1967’s Belle de Jour.

Now as Beatrice, she tremendous as a blowhard who bustles about in a fog of cigarettes, red wine, debt and ill health, rudely interrupting the settled life of her late boyfriend’s daughter.

Catherine Frot brings a calm dignity to her role as a thrifty, hard working, teetotal midwife, Claire. Her maternal instinct works against her against her better judgement and Claire becomes increasingly involved in the older woman’s dramas.

Allowing its characters some sharp elbows to offset the occasional tenderness, this is a subtle essay on the brevity of life. And thankfully the ham fisted Miranda Hart is nowhere to be seen.


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