NYFF 2020: French Exit Review

NYFF 2020: French Exit Review

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s New York Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

French Exit, a film with plenty of Oscar buzz, was the closing night film at this year’s New York Film Festival. Going into it knowing next to nothing since there hasn’t been much information released about it to begin with, it is one that is better experienced going into blind. Suffice it to say that this one that makes some odd filmmaking and storytelling choices, resulting in a surprising yet truly unique filmgoing experience.

How does French Exit hold up? This is one that is sure to gain a cult following while many will hate it. Any time a film goes for it is worth commending, however, as a piece of storytelling it doesn’t entirely work. This was main because of how distant the film felt from its characters. While Hedges and Pfeiffer give good performances and craft clever characters as Frances and Malcolm Price respectively, the relationships developed over the course of the film felt so distant in what seemed intentional by the filmmakers. However, the characters, while being dry and distant at times, have an understanding for their place in the universe and the human condition in general. They feel like actual people with a few Wes Anderson esque flourishes.

French Exit entirely feels like a screenplay. One that is too clever and too broad for its own good at times making it hard to truly invest in anything going on in the story. So while the film is still worth the recommendation because it’s a memorable moviegoing experience, it is also one featuring a lot of wasted potential making for an overall uneven film.

still courtesy of Elevation Pictures

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