Madame (2017)

Don’t be fooled by the cutesy, whimsical advertising campaign for this comedy-drama: While there are several scenes that are cutesy and airy (most of them revolving around lead Rossy de Palma, at her most Shelley Duvall-esque), there’s a dark, depressing undercurrent throughout. It’s not particularly surprising that the movie has a bit of a rough edge, given that it primarily concerns itself with social hierarchy and class warfare, but what demarcates it from other, similar movies (like 2017’s “Beatriz at Dinner” for instance) is its willingness to eschew sentimentality in favor of stark realism, even as it follows the conventions of sunny, bright-colored romantic comedies. De Palma is an arresting screen presence in anything she does but she has a rare lead role to sink her teeth into here and she does it with aplomb, while the always-excellent Toni Collette digs into her character so deeply that she manages to be both hateful and sympathetic at once. The ending may not satisfy casual movie watchers, but it’s worth a shot for those who like quiet character pieces with lots to say about the world we live in.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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