Dry and delectably dark, French Exit is a cautionary tale about a one-percenter that runs out of luck and then money. Michelle Pfeiffer is fantastic as Frances Price who may have lost her fortune but this has done little to dim her sense of humour or entitlement. The momentum of her previous life has carried her to a last stand in Paris, where she is staying at a friend’s apartment.
Once ensconced in the city of lights, the indifferent members of French society have met their match. Her disdain for being ignored leads to one of the film’s funniest moments when Frances lights a table setting on fire when neglected by a waiter. Watching Pfeiffer chew up scene after scene while never raising her voice beyond a murmur is completely beguiling.
The story takes great liberties with reality and features several quite absurd moments like Frances drugging her cat to smuggle the feline through customs and speaking to her long-dead husband whose soul apparently inhabits said cat.
For those that like to find humour in the darkness, French Exit will satisfy that proclivity as well as soothe the urge to see the super-rich get their comeuppance and fall on hard times. It speaks of Pfeiffer’s power as an actor that this sad tale could be so entertaining.