What You Need To Know:
BON VOYAGE is filled with delightful, exciting, suspenseful, and comical twists. Best of all, BON VOYAGE is also one of the cleanest French movies to come along in years. Viviane’s love affairs are only suggested, and all of the deaths occur off screen. Camille, Frederic, and even the thief turn out to be strong heroes. They are a joy to cheer on, even when love and romance distracts them from the serious historical events in the story. Viewers will get more out of the movie, however, if they know a little bit about those events and its leading historical figures.
(BB, C, L, VV, AA, D, M) Solid moral worldview about love, romance, and fighting evil, as well as Catholic Christian hospital plays a very brief positive role and a couple shots of some nuns, one shot of which is given a slightly comical spin; three light obscenities and two light exclamatory profanities; some violence, the most disturbing of which is a man struggling with and slapping a woman when he forces his way into her house, plus villain fights off several people (including the hero and a couple women), shootout, man lies bleeding, man jumps through glass window, man upsets tables while trying to get away from authorities, some other fighting, men hit heads on steering wheels when two cars crash, and man shoots at one villain, but deaths occur off-screen; kissing and actress takes up with men when she needs protection, but no sex scenes implied or shown; no nudity; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking; and, lying, selfishness, government cowardice, espionage, and collaborating with Hitler’s National Socialist government.
BON VOYAGE is a thoroughly delightful comic thriller from France about the fall of France to Hitler’s juggernaut in World War II. It’s one of the most entertaining, uplifting French movies in years.
The movie opens with young Frederic, for years in love with famous actress Viviane Denvert, succumbing to her charms when one of Viviane’s more ardent and mean admirers ends up dead on her floor. Viviane tells Frederic that the man fell from the landing after hitting her. Only part of her story is true.
Frederic agrees to hide the body in the trunk of the man’s car and dump the car in a deep canal, but the windshield wipers stop working in the rain. Frederic crashes the car, accidentally knocking himself unconscious, and the trunk pops open to reveal the corpse. While waiting in jail for his trial (the police reveal to Frederic that the dead man had been shot), the jailers decide to move all the prisoners before the Germans enter Paris. They handcuff Frederic to a charming thief named Raoul, who promptly leads Frederic away in an escape, picks the lock of the handcuffs, and disappears.
Frederic ends up on a crowded train to Bordeaux, where all of Paris seems to be fleeing, including Raoul. Raoul has made friends with Camille, a pretty physics student who’s meeting her professor, a Jewish nuclear physicist who just happens to be traveling with bottles of heavy water, a key ingredient to the atomic bomb. The professor is desperately trying to find passage to England before the Germans can capture him and the heavy water. Of course, who should happen to be in Bordeaux but Viviane and her new lover, a high-level French official, plus some German spies and the whole French government, which is deciding whether to capitulate to the Germans, flee to North Africa with DeGaulle, or stand and fight.
BON VOYAGE is filled with delightful, exciting, suspenseful, and comical twists and turns. Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau and his actors, which include Isabelle Adjani as the spoiled, selfish actress and Gerard Depardieu as the French official, manage to carry off the complicated plot with wonderful aplomb. Best of all, BON VOYAGE is also one of the cleanest French movies to come along in years. Viviane’s love affairs are only suggested and all of the deaths occur off screen. Camille, Frederic, and even Raoul turn out to be strong heroes. They are a joy to cheer on, even when love and romance distracts them from the serious historical events in the story. Viewers will get more out of the movie, however, if they know a little bit about those events and the leading historical figures in France at that time.