My Wife is an Actress (2001) from Tuna

My Wife is an Actress (2001) is a French comedy about a sportswriter (Yvan Attal) who is married to a famous actress (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Life is not perfect with a celebrity for a wife. He is sick to death of autograph hounds, he is pissed that he can't get a decent dinner reservation for them, but she can, etc. Then, she lands a lead role opposite Terence Stamp in England, and a friend of his sister convinces him that he should be jealous because of the on screen kissing, nudity, etc.

His sister is pregnant, and they have a major battle with her non-Jewish husband over whether or not to circumcise. Stamp and Gainsbourg are in fact tempted by lust. Charlotte is uneasy about a sex scene requiring nudity, and finally tells the director that she will only do it if everyone is naked. Sure enough, when assistant Jo McInnes calls her to the set, she is nude, as is the entire crew.

Naturally, this is the day Attal decides to visit the set.

I found it rather boring and not at all engaging.

Scoop's comments in yellow:

The first comment at IMDb says "a monstrous bore". He hit the nail right on the head. It's approximately the French equivalent of a 60s or 70s Neil Simon play. Call it "Barefoot in le Parc". Except for General Zod and that one nude scene described above by Tuna, the film lacks any amusement. It is repetitious, irritating, inconsequential, and ... well, a crashing bore.

I can't explain that 7.2 at IMDb, because all three major reviews below dumped on it. The two British reviewers rated it two stars out of five. The film scores very, very high with women, but that's only part of the explanation. The rest? 'Tis a mystery.


Jo McInnes shows breasts in clear light during the nude crew scene, as do several unknown actresses, and there is a ton of male full frontal as well. Charlotte Gainsbourg shows a breast in a sex scene with Attal, and her character has a lengthy rear nude scene that could easily be a double.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic 1.85:1

I sometimes get an eerie feeling when I see second generation actresses. Natasha Gregson Wagner, for example, from certain angles and in certain lights, can look exactly like her mother. The effect is like watching a ghost momentarily. The same is true of Charlotte Gainsbourg, although there is no ghost involved, since her mom (Jane Birkin) is very much alive, only 56 and still working regularly. Natasha's mother should still be with us as well. If Natalie Wood were still alive, she would be only 64.

The Critics Vote

  • Consensus: two stars. Ebert 2.5/4, BBC 2/5, The Guardian 2/5.

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. Voting results: IMDb voters score it 7.2/10
  • It grossed about a million in the USA, about $5 million in France.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, given a genre of French romantic comedy, I give it C-. (Scoop agrees, up to a point. If you understand French, it is probably a C-. It must be funnier in French. If you watch it with subtitles, it is a comedy with no humor at all, thus a D. I usually like French films, but couldn't make it through this one.)

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