Reviewed byrob o'copVote: 9/10/10
With so much rubbish hitting screens across the world it's a breath offresh air each time a film comes along that treats its audience withrespect and acknowledges a level of intelligence and ability to pick updetail without banging us over the head with it. Priceless takes asimple idea that in other hands would have stayed at the simple leveland develops layers and folds, shades of grey, as well as some straightup laughs.
Audrey Tautou does wonders with her character, making her lovable oneminute and despicable the next but not so much that we hate her. I wasamazed at the natural flow with which she delivered her performance. Aslight facial expression speaking pages. If I wasn't a fan before, I amnow.
Gad Elmaleh delivers a similar performance as he did in the valet,which works perfectly for this movie, luckily. He is really good atwhat he does, and for those that say he is unbelievable in the leadromantic role, I think he pulled out the charm quite convincingly atthe right moments, which is exactly what the feel of the film required.These are not cartoon characters that we know are either good or bad,they're complex, just like real humans who some times we hate, and sometimes we love. Yay for quality cinema!!
Reviewed byrobert-temple-1Vote: 9/10/10
This is a classic case of moral ambivalence. Audrey Tautou, hypnotisingus as usual with her big soulful eyes, plays someone of less thansalubrious character, in fact a totally amoral gold-digger. The film isactually a study of gold-digging. Gad Elmaleh is the haplessintoxicant, drowning in the beauty of Audrey, a kind of Tautouholic,and who cannot understand that? So he starts out straight and getssucked into this world of sell yourself for cash, and sticks with itbecause while they are in the same luxury hotels being paid to be sextoys by rich older people, he gets to spend his spare moments with her.The girlie friendship between them as prostitute colleagues drives himcrazy because he loves her, but it is the only way he can be near her.The film has many hilarious moments, if being a prostitute ishilarious, and the story is about whether Audrey will discover what is'beyond price', namely that thing called love. Audrey's talent formania comes out especially in the scene where she goes wild with lustfor a new dress which she sees for sale. She wants money, she wantsthings, and ultimately this is a morality tale about whether she canget beyond these delusions. Elmaleh was an excellent choice for thefellow, and he does a superb job in being sensitive and befuddled as hedoes what a man has gotta do to hang in there somehow. Will she crack?Audrey meanwhile exudes waves of warmth and creates a real individualout of someone who could so easily have been a cardboard cutoutcharacter. The screen is awash with her charm, one wants to wade outinto that surf, like Elmaleh, knowing that one could easily drown. Willhe? Does he? I'm not going to tell. Notch up one more irresistiblevehicle for Audrey Tautou as she continues her march through unmissablefilm after film. But the mystery as to who and what she is deepens,because the more she is exposed to our view, the less we can really seeof her, as she is the ultimate chamaeleon, of whom we will always knowa diminishing amount as she progressively turns herself into a legend.
Reviewed byfrankenbenzVote: 8/10/10
Last night my girlfriend dragged me to a chick flick. Fortunately forme, my girl has pretty good taste and it happened to be a French chickflick. Priceless doesn't redefine the genre, but it does prove mostEuropean mainstream films have a lot more going for them than mostmainstream American films.
"Love conquers all" is certainly not an original theme, yet clichéd ornot, this telling feels both fresh and intelligent. Whereas Americanchick flicks portray women as lonely, hopeless and dying to meet Mr.Right, Priceless establishes its female lead as anything but. AudreyTautou's Irène is an icy predator, a materialistic bitch with noredeeming qualities other than a great body every designer dress shedons showcases. Here the male lead Jean (Gad Elmaleh) is the haplessand hopeless romantic, who is desperate to melt the ice queen's heart.While this setup might call to mind the Coen Brother's IntolerableCruelty, it doesn't suffer from IC's achilles heel: aping the films itwas inspired by. The Coen's film is an all too obvious tribute toHoward Hawk's screwball romantic comedies, so much so, their respectfor Hawk's becomes the very crutch that renders IC lame. Priceless alsopays respect to classic French comedies (ie. the films of Louis deFunès and Jacques Tati) but, unlike IC, it never gets bogged down byits influences. Priceless manages to make the old seem new and it isbuoyed by its charm, its nuanced writing and the performances of thetwo leads.
Gad Elmaleh who plays the naïve Jean, not only nails every bit ofphysical comedy assigned to him, but he also provides Priceless withits heart. You can't help but feel his pain as you see in his eyes theheartache and humiliation inflicted upon him by Tautou's Irène.Throughout the film Elmaleh effortlessly expresses a wide range ofemotions and even though the comedy is, at times, broad it never feelscontrived and always feels natural.
I'm not going to go over the top and call this a masterpiece, but ifyou've got to sacrifice some blood and sit through a chick flick aftersubjecting your better half to a Herzog marathon (as I recently did),then Priceless is the perfect choice.
In Biarritz with her elderly provider to celebrate her birthday, Irene slips down to the hotel bar when he falls asleep on her. She mistakes barman Jean for a well-healed guest and he encourages the deceit by taking her up to the Royal Suite for the night. A year later the same thing happens but this time her lover finds out and disowns her. Now knowing Jean is indeed a barman of little means doesn't stop her from continuing to live in style until his money is gone. He soon finds himself in Irene's business with older and worldly-wise Madeleine, and though Irene also takes up with a new paramour the two of them keep in increasingly close touch.