40 year old Marcelline (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) is a successful stage
actress whose private life goes more and more off the hook: She's got no
man in her life despite the fact that she wants to experience true love,
she wants a child but lacks a father, and now she has been hired to star
in a Russian play - Turgenyev's A Month in the Country -, which
despite being about something completely else mirrors her own life (the
play is about a mother falling n love withthe young private teacher of her
The play seems to drive Mercelline even more over the edge, as her
whims drive her director Denis (Mathieu Amalric) crazy (so much so that he
once almost rapes her despite being gay), his assistant Nathalie (Noémie
Lvovsky) grows more and more jealous because Marcelline seems to be
getting all the breaks that she, a former acting student herself, thinks
she deserves, Marcelline's gynocologist is driven to despair by her weird
views on pregnancy and motherhood, only her young co-star Eric (Louis
Garrel) - he plays the young teacher - has fallen in love with her. And
then Marcelline even starts to see ghosts, first those of real dead
people, but after a time also the ghost of Natasha Petrovna (Valeria
Golino), the character she plays in the play.
Despite all of this, the play becomes a great success, and Marcelline
is actually quite good in it, but that doesn't keep her from losing touch
even more, and pushing away Eric, the only one really in love with her,
even if it breaks her heart to see him kissing another woman, co-star
Juliette (Laetitia Spigarelli) ...
Ultimately, Marcelline runs away from a performance, just before the
curtain rises, and she throws herself into the Seine. Thing is, she is an
excellent swimmer, so the closing images show her swimming to shore ...
Meanwhile her role on stage has been taken over by NAthalie, while
director Denis goes up in tears.
A subplot involves Natalie - who has a husband and two children -
trying to start an affair with Denis, despite the fact that she knows he's
My synopsis might not suggest it, but this is a quite amusing film,
actually it's grave drama done as light comedy - and against all odds this
works beautifully, thanks to a witty script, great actors and a direction
that is very subtle for the most part but doesn't shy away from a
pie-in-the-face gag when it's least expected.