LOOKING FOR HORTENSE (12) Heart of Hawick

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The French are good at intelligent, grown-up comedies of manners, for want of a better phrase.

They understand the weakness of human nature as well as its attempt to hide chaos behind walls of words.

It is not only politicians whose careers end in failure, but just about everyone, especially academics and writers, because they have the insight to see through pathetic attempts at relevance.

Looking For Hortense is misleading. Where to look?

There is Iva (Kristin Scott Thomas), a theatre director, married to Damien (Jean-Pierre Bacri), a professor of something Chinesey, and their bolshy teenage son, Noe, who rubbishes his father and exploits his mother. Then there is Zorica (Isabelle Carre), a pretty girl from the Balkans, living in Paris and about to be deported as an illegal immigrant, friend of Iva’s brother and his fiancee.

Iva starts an affair with her latest leading man. Damien is supposed to have talked to his estranged father about persuading an influential civil servant to revoke Zorica’s expulsion order, but hasn’t because he’s lost the will... Meanwhile, he meets Zorica, without knowing her true identity, and finds himself falling ... surely not!

Well, who is Hortense, anyway?

If you need to watch the movie to find out, it’s worth it. Romantics are teased. Cynics will be justified. Realists might wonder why Noe hasn’t run away from home yet.

As for Hortense, he does what he’s famous for. Nothing. With a double dose of Gallic charm.