Opening September 1, 2016
Directed by: Laurent Tirard
Writing credits: Laurent Tirard, Grégoire Vigneron
Principal actors: Jean Dujardin, Virginie Efira, Cédric Kahn, Stéphanie Papanian, César Domboy
Diane (Efira) is a successful lawyer, who shares an office with her ex-husband, Bruno (Kahn). She is open to a new relationship and agrees to a kind of blind date with Alexandre (Dujardin), i.e., he knows her by sight, but she has no clue. Therefore, she is more than surprised when Alexandre turns out to be a real midget, only 136 centimeters (4.5 feet) tall. His feet dangle in the air, when sitting across from Diane at the restaurant. He is a successful architect, currently building an opera house in Lüttich, Belgium, and his outgoing personality shines way above any physical deficiencies. Diane is smitten, but wary of opinions from her acquaintances and family.
This film shines due to the excellent actors in main and secondary roles alike. Virginie Efira is fine as Diane; Jean Dujardin is not a dwarf in real life, but director Tirard knew how to make him appear small. He also got expert help from a stand-in: Brice Simien Baron, who is a dwarf. It’s not easy having an ex-husband as a business partner, especially when actor Cédric Kahn plays him as Bruno. He finally desists calling her cherie, as if they were still a couple; now it’s “Snow White” after he meets the competition. César Domboy is Benji, Alexandre’s son who lives with him after his parents divorced. Although he is not exactly on the road to success, still living off parental handouts, he comes through when his father reaches a low point. Coralie (Papanian) is the secretary of both Diane and Bruno; she serves as a communicator and even amateur psychiatrist when problems arise. We meet Diane’s mother, who refuses to accept a midget, her step-father who is also not “normal,” Monique, the maid, more trouble than help, as well as the dog Lucio, who attacks Alexandre every time he walks into his own house.
Filmed in Marseille, France, this is a remake of an Argentine film called Corazón de León. I would not be a bit surprised if some Hollywood director took it on to make an American version. The moral of the story, i.e., looks aren’t everything, is something we know, but don’t always follow and is definitely worth a third interpretation. And maybe we will find out what happened with the promised ping pong competition. ( )