LE DIVORCE, by director James Ivory, normally known for his costume dramas,
is a remarkably bland film with a costume drama feel that has neither
costumes nor drama. This lifeless production stars Kate Hudson (ALMOST
FAMOUS) and Naomi Watts (MULHOLLAND DR.) as half-sisters Isabel and Roxy.
As the story opens, Isabel has arrived in Paris to visit her pregnant
sister, who is married to a Frenchman. Roxy's husband is leaving her, since
he is having an affair and wants a divorce. Their divorce is a slow-motion
train wreck that is one of the movie's many subthemes. Before you can blink
an eye, Isabel, without a hint of jetlag, has gone to bed with a Frenchman
her age and then started an affair with a married Frenchman twice her age.
The movie's on-going joke is that the French don't care about marital
infidelity and that their response is always, "of course."
Hudson, who has shined in so many films recently, is almost as awful this
time as she was in THE FOUR FEATHERS. Neither she, Watts nor any of the
leads are able to make their characters convincing or genuine. It falls to
a few of the supporting cast to breathe a little life into the story.
Especially good are Sam Waterston and Stockard Channing, as Isabel and
Roxy's parents, and Bebe Neuwirth (TADPOLE), who plays an art curator.
The movie switches awkwardly at times between English and French as if there
were some contractual obligation about the relative amount of each language
to be spoken.
Although there is a tiny surprise or two thrown in at the conclusion, the
movie basically ends as it began, which is just to continue lumbering along.
LE DIVORCE runs 1:57. The film is in English and in French with English
subtitles. It is rated PG-13 for "mature thematic elements and sexual
content" and would be acceptable for any kid old enough to be able to read
My son Jeffrey, age 14, gave it **, saying that it went on too long and had
too many needless subplots. About the only thing positive he had to say
about the movie was that he always enjoys Kate Hudson.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes