A Promise (2013)

The movie is set in the pre-World War I days in Germany. It opens up with an ambitious young man Friederich, getting a job  and then becoming indispensable to his boss, Karl Hoffmeister. Friederich then meets the boss’ attractive young wife and before you know it he it tutoring their son.

Friederich and Lotte become very close. Like most of Patrice Leconte’s movies it moves very slowly as it closely examines its characters. We see Friedrich falling in love, as he continues to make Karl’s factory more efficient. Friedrich follows Lotte to church. He plays with Lotte and her son, Otto, in the yard.

We see Friedrich’s infatuation growing as he begins to ignore his girlfriend. When Friederich tells Lotte that they must stop living a lie, she gets mad at him. When Karl has a stroke Friederich helps Lotte with him.

Karl then tells Friederich that he wants him to go to a new business they are starting up in Mexico for two years. When Friederich tells Lotte she gets really upset. Now he realizes she loves him too. Friederich goes and they are both miserable.

When the war breaks out Lotte has trouble getting Friederich’s letters and hers are returned, and she is in a panic.

Before Karl dies he tells Lotte that he knew she loved Friederich. The years go by and they are separated for six years. They have not communicated for four years, but Lotte keeps writing.

The war ends and Germany has lost the war, but Lotte doesn’t care. Then Friederich returns. He tells Lotte that he is back in Germany on business, He is now settled in Mexico.

Friederich is kind of cold and their relationship seems to be over. Lotte Tells Friederich she hasn’t forgotten her promise.  The next thing you know they are on a train together and they are back together.  Now we see Nazis marching out on the streets.

A movie that didn’t get great reviews, but I enjoyed it.  Slow moving, interesting character studies.

Intimate Strangers (2004)

The story of a woman who goes in to a tax consultant, thinking he is a psychiatrist she has an appointment with, and tells him all of her intimate secrets.
As the meetings go on, and she finds out what he really is, the relationship gets crazier and crazier. Leconte seems to be obsessed with stalking, whether it is actual or in this case psychological.
The movie unfolded like a mystery and it had a great musical score. The movie, overall, really didn’t work that well for me. If it was a hidden black comedy, and the comedy was too hidden for me.
This movie was another of Leconte’s portraying a really odd couples. No one does that better than him.

My Best Friend (2006)

Another really good film by Patrice Leconte. In this one he has another odd couple : the gregarious taxi driver Bruno and the friendless antique dealer Francois. Francois didn’t know he was friendless until at his birthday dinner, his acquaintances told him he was.
After several random run ins with Bruno, Francois decides to see if he can help him to make friends. Bruno and Francois become friends and Francois becomes a better person.
The movie doesn’t end as well as it began but it is still very good. Daniel Auteuil who was in Cache, Jean de Florette, Manon of the Spring as well as two other Leconte movies (A Girl on the Bridge and The Widow of Saint-Pierre), is an excellent actor who was again very good in this as Francois.

Monsieur Hire (1989)

I doesn’t seem like this movie could have worked. The main character is a creep who looks out of his dark room into the room of the young girl across the courtyard. The young girl is in love and is willing to do anything to help her loser boyfriend. The boyfriend is a murderer and doesn’t really seem to care about the girl. A detective wanders through the movie really confused as to what is going on.
There are no sympathetic characters and there is no one to cheer for. It doesn’t seem like the movie could be fun to watch, but it was great.
I guess this movie just cements it for me. No one is able to examine strange, weird, disturbed relationships better than Patrice Leconte, and make it fun to watch.
The Hairdresser’s Huband, The Girl on the Bridge, The Widow of Saint-Pierre , Man on a Train and this movie all examine unusual relationships with characters that are hard to identify with and sometimes even harder to cheer for, but are all fascinating to watch.
Patrice Leconte is a genius.

Ridicule (1996)

I am really beginning to like Patrice Leconte. This is the fifth movie I have seen by him and they were all really good.
This movie is about French society at Versailles, just before the Revolution, where the main source of entertainment seems to be using one’s wit to embarrass one another. If you lose in the battle, your social life at Court could be over.
When a poor country noble goes to the city to try to get some help for his area he quickly joins in.
Like in Girl on the Bridge, the first scene and the last scene mirror each other in an ironic way. The tables in both have turned.
A really good period piece that provides a really interesting view at a way of life that was just about to end.

The Widow of Saint-Pierre (2000)

Based on a true story that took place in the Newfoundland islands in 1849. Two drunk men kill a man and one is sentenced to die for the crime. While in jail, awaiting the arrival of a guillotine, the captain’s wife takes him under her wing.
By the time the “widow” arrives, everyone in town, except the authorities, like the condemned man, Neele, and wants him to stay alive. When a refugee appears and takes the job of executioner, it looks like Neele is out of luck.
The Captain’s wife, Madame La, takes Neele out on a row boat and then forces him to escape but Neele doesn’t want to get anyone in trouble so he comes back.
The leaders of the town get their way, and the captain is replaced and recalled to France for court matial.
A strange movie for Patrice Leconte because it is a pretyy straight forward historical movie. Not much humor and no Arabian music but Leconte does explore the stangeness of the triangular relationship between the captain, his wife and the condemned man.
A very well done, interesting, historical drama by Patrice Leconte.

The Girl on the Bridge (1999)

Patrice Leconte knows how to make quirky movies and he knows how to make them well.
Adele is a girl who has been looking for love in all the wrong places and hasn’t had any luck. She ends up on a bridge looking to take the leap.
Gabor, hangs out on the bridges looking for potential suicides who he can convince to come work for him as a target for his knife throwing act, instead of taking the plunge.
Gabor finds Adele who agrees to give life one more chance. Gabor and Adele fall in love but Gabor never sleeps with his targets.
When she leaves him he can’t throw his knives any more and he hits the skids.A very strange love story that comes full circle in the end.
Strange, wonderful music, drama, magic and humor all mixed together to form a unique, entertaining and interesting movie. Strangest love story of all time? Maybe.