This film takes a stab at imagining what occurred during a block of time that is unaccounted for in the life of playwright Moliere. It combines several elements of plots from his plays, including Tartuffe, Le Misanthrope, The Imaginary Invalid and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.
After spending years touring the provinces with his troupe becoming famous for his farces, Moliere returns to Paris to perform for the king. A visit to the sickbed of a woman sends him into a flashback from thirteen years previously. Moliere had been jailed for debts, and is rescued by a wealthy commoner who wants Moliere to teach him performance skills so he can woo a titled lady – all without his wife knowing.
It is a beautiful, funny, fabulous film. I’m not overly familiar with the work of Moliere, although several years ago, I saw a production of Tartuffe at the Malthouse Theatre and loved it. Whilst some of the elements of farce tend to be on the ridiculous side, this film really takes the truth of the story and plays with it. The acting is fabulous, for me notably Romaine Duris (who I recently enjoyed in Heartbreaker) as Moliere, Fabrice Luchini as the wealthy commoner M. Jourdain and Laura Morante as his wife.