Potiche (slang for “trophy wife”) is one of the funniest films that I have seen in a long time! From the opening Disney-like scene where the Madame Pujol is prancing around the woods in a tracksuit and hair curlers, listening to cheerful birds, and surrounded by friendly deer and a playful squirrel, only to come across two bunny’s going for it, I instantly knew that this was going to be a film on my wave length.
In classic battle of the sexes and classes, set in France in the 1970’s, the film centres on Madame Pujol’s family – her sexist and very traditionally husband, who runs Madame Pujol’s late father’s umbrella making company like a tyrant (the workers call him Hitler); her sexy and fiery daughter who is having relationship issues with her husband who is constantly travelling and never around to look after the kids and her nerdy and loveable son who wants to do something creative, rather than take over the family business.
When the workers at the umbrella factory go on strike, and the stress of the situation causes Madame Pujol’s husband to have a heart attack after he has been taking hostage by the workers – she is given the unpredictable and rare opportunity to take over the rains of her fathers business – and despite the fact that her husband just assumes she will just sit there and let the business runs herself, she actually turns the business completely around and gets the workers back on her side, increases profits, and employs her daughter and son who excel in their two very different fields of expertise.
Things get complicated when her husband returns home from hospital and wants his job back. A war between husband and wife begins, with brother and sister up against each other as well – and once the fists start flying, all kinds of family secrets surface, and it’s revealed that not everyone is as they seem, with lots of dirty secrets in the closets.
This film was hilariously funny, incredibly well-crafted, and definitely unpredictable. Although some of the jokes didn’t translate through the sub-titles, what was really great about this film was that one section of the audience laughed at one thing, and one section laughed at other things. The film looked fantastic, with some really great production design that perfectly showcased the style of the era.
Although when walking into the film, you could predict that Madame Pujol would walk out as a winner – you never stopped cheering for her for a second. Her strong will, determination and passion keep you with her for the entire journey, even when it’s revealed that she’s certainly not the perfect wife she looks like on paper. I loved this film – and highly recommend you go and check it out! Great for a laugh!