The Film: 4/5
Paulette (Bernadette Lafont), is an angry and downright racist retiree who lives in the housing projects of France. She misses her husband, who happened to die on 09/11, and has an alienating relationship with her daughter. She resents her for marrying a black man and having a black child. Suddenly her life is thrown through a loop when all her furniture is repossessed and she almost loses her home. Desperate and nowhere to turn, her life is changed when she accidentally runs into a drug deal. She asks her son in law, who happens to be a police officer, about drug dealers and how much they made. What follows is a bizarre and hilarious tale about how she gets redemption through cannabis!
That plot may sound similar to the Craig Ferguson scripted movie, Saving Grace (2000), a movie about a windowed English woman who sales weed to make a living, and to be honest that was a huge selling point. Calling Paulette, a French remake of Saving Grace may sound cheap, but the movies do have a lot of similarities. Paulette just happens to be a more mature and deep comedy. And some of the comedy is actually quite touching. The character of Paulette is quite off putting at first, but slowly grows into a fuller woman who reconnects to her friends and her family, even coming to terms with her black son in law and grandson.
The movie balances drama, comedy, and suspense very well. The movie even follows the traditional rise and fall story of a drug dealer/ gangster archetype, just with 3D TVs instead of Tigers, like in Scarface. One of the highlights being a hostage situation with toys, that I’ll let you see for yourselves.
The cast are all good. Bernadette Lafont delivers a truly great and touching performance as Paulette. She completely owns the movie and you want to see her have her happy ending. Carmen Maura, Dominique Lavanant, and Françoise Bertin are all fun as Paulette’s card playing buddies turned business partners. I would to see a French version of The Golden Girls with this cast. Paco Boublard also gives an understated and interesting performance as the drug boss Vito. He does little things throughout the movie to steal his scenes. He seems like a tough as nails gangster but turns out to be a weak punk.
The movie itself looks fine and has some interesting realistic cinematography. Nothing is too flashy and it mostly stays simple for the actors to shine with their roles. Some scenes are a little muddy looking and flat. The soundtrack on the other hand is poppy and very French.
My only real complaint is the ending seemed to be a little rushed after the slower pacing of the second act. A little too much plotting is dropped onto The characters before a fast and cheap ending. Everything just happens and an extra 5 to 10 minutes could’ve fixed this. No long court scenes in this one.
Audio/ Video: 4/5
The movie is in its original French with a DTS- HD master, and easy to read white subtitles. No Hiss or pops. The 1080p picture quality is quite gorgeous and shows off the good cinematography. The picture has almost no grain and the colors have some pop to them. Some of the yellows are a little brownish, but it keeps with the naturalistic lighting. Some of the best use of color is in the Chinese restaurant scenes. Another great transfer from Cohen.
Extras are slim for this release. We get 10 deleted scenes that were most likely cut for pacing and the 2015 release trailer.
At a lean 87 minutes, Paulette tells a hilarious story that has a lot more going on than just a drug dealing comedy. The movie has a great cast and some rich emotions. On top of this, we get a great transfer from Cohen Media Group. Highly Recommended. Watch this and Saving Grave for a fun stoner comedy movie night.