LE DIVORCE centers around two sisters from California, Roxy (played by Naomi Watts) and Isabel (played by Kate Hudson) who must face the societal nuances of French culture and etiquette. Roxy is newly pregnant when her French husband, Charles-Henri (Melvil Poupaud), leaves her for another woman. Luckily, Roxy’s sister Isabel arrives that day in Paris to visit her and ends up staying on to help her through the turmoil of her ending marriage and impending birth.
Roxy says that she does not believe in divorce and does not want to grant it to her husband. Yet, he simply rebuts, “You said you believed in freedom and individuality, but now you are not who you said you were.” Charles-Henri’s blatant selfishness not only devastates Roxy, but also his own family, including his mother Suzanne (played by Leslie Caron). Yet, despite the family’s disapproval, they still support their son and, when a custody and property battle ensure, they fight for half of the couple’s property, including a possible French masterpiece that belongs to Roxy’s family.
To complicate matters, Isabel is charmed by Charles-Henri’s uncle, Edgar (Thierry Lhermitte), who is a distinguished politician but who, unknown to her, is known for his flings with pretty young women. In fact, Isabel’s boss, an American ex-patriate and author (played by Glenn Close), recognizes the expensive “Kelly” bag given to Isabel as a trinket once given to her by her former lover, Edgar.
In the meantime, an angry American (Matthew Modine) enters the picture. He is the husband of the woman with whom Charles-Henri is having the affair. He refuses to give his wife a divorce, just like Roxy has done with Charles-Henri. However, Roxy has to give in due to Charles-Henri and his family’s persistence. Yet, the angry American simply cannot accept this same fate for his marriage, which leads to a twist that is unexpected and causes all the parties involved to come together.
LE DIVORCE appears to be a romantic comedy on the surface, but as soon as the film begins, you are introduced to an underlying tragedy that will spark all the later events – the impending divorce of Roxy and Charles-Henri. While many movies tout the easiness of divorce and how expendable relationships have become, LE DIVORCE explores the ramifications of divorce and “following your heart.” Initially, Roxy’s French in-laws are laughing at the story of an American Senator who was discovered to have had numerous affairs with his secretaries. Freshly wounded by her husband’s departure, Roxy exclaims, “Why is adultery and fornication seen as comedy?” Roxy’s attitude toward divorce and broken relationships provides a fresh, transparent balance to the French attitude, which simply says “Of course,” no matter how tragic the offense.
LE DIVORCE weighs the selfishness that comes into play when individuals neglect others in order to fulfill their own desires. In the end, each character seems to come to their own peace and find resolution, yet not without consequences. This movie challenges the viewer to contemplate the seriousness of relationships without weighing them down. The comedic aspects to the film are very fresh, and the characters are very engaging. While not all of the views presented in the movie are biblical, there is a place for the Truth to be seen, and Christians who see LE DIVORCE can get a powerful illustration of living by principle, rather than by emotion, in the story.
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SUMMARY: LE DIVORCE centers on two sisters from California, Roxy and Isabel, who must face the societal nuances of French culture and etiquette, when newly pregnant Roxy’s French husband, Charles-Henri leaves her for another woman. LE DIVORCE weighs the selfishness that comes into play when individuals neglect others in order to fulfill their own desires, but requires extreme caution for its sexual content.
(BB, RoRo, Ab, C, P, L, VV, SS, N, A, MM;) Strong dominant moral and biblical worldview mixed with Romantic worldview where characters live by their emotions and "follow their heart" but the consequences of their actions are shown to be devastating and woman does not believe in divorce; anti-biblical worldview in some character's promiscuity and character says that the anti-abortion view is a "fascist philosophy" (in reality, of course, Hitler and his henchmen supported abortion); Christian references to Saint Ursula who "watched over their family"; patriotic sentiments from Americans who disapprove of French denial of problems; four obscenities; some depicted violence when character slits her wrists and blood is shown and man is murdered (not shown), but dead face is shown; implied adultery with couple shown in bed three times and intense kissing and brief sexual talk; men shown without shirts on and woman shown in lingerie; most characters shown drinking wine and smoking cigarettes, which is common in France; husband is angry and tries to kill wife because she is having an affair, women lie to cover up that husband has left his wife, and disdain for relatives.
GENRE: Romantic Comedy/Drama