Dear French People: Non-Fiction?

Dear French People,

I’ve seen and enjoyed French films before, namely Starbuck (2011) and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007). But Non-Fiction? Non, non.

Let me get this straight:
You’re intellectuals; ok, I respect that.
You’ve got labor problems and politicians are forced to be super moral and transparent. Ok, got it.

But, sex with multiple people? C’est la vie.
Your spouse or partner has an affair? C’est la vie.
You’ve seen each other for 6 years? Ghosting is an appropriate way to end things.
Women deserve consoling, but men get spat on.
You have kids, but farm the raising off to grand mere and the nanny.

I appreciated the drinking debates about digital vs. print media, but must ask this of Americans as well, why is everything such a black and white issue these days? Why can’t we do both? Certainly the case has been made for bisexuality (and in this film) which is defined by liking both sexes, so what the heck is the hand wringing about other much easier choices that also need not be binary. It’d be like a war about cake is better than pie (which it is), but why not have both as choices?

I appreciated the ennui couples feel in their relationships, but why not work on intimacy rather than just secretly sleep with others? Sure, it doesn’t have the titillating risk of getting caught, but it sure as heck makes you a deeper person.

Sure there’s some cutesy bits about Juliet Binoche’s character not wanting to be referred to as a police officer, but instead a crisis conflict manager, and a roll your eyes wink wink at the end when she says maybe they could get Juliet Binoche could play her in the movie version of her show (hardy, har har), but come on. Let’s face facts because Assaysas is an industry darling everyone gushes even when it’s just plain mediocre.

Bottom line: there is suppose to be some character arc or growth in a film and I saw only one character who was sort of maturing, and he with a shrew of a partner who chastised him for his cell phone all the while hanging up on him to get back to work.

Other characters in this film contradicted themselves. Juliet Binoche’s character whines to her friend that her husband is having an affair, but she is also having an affair (a fun fact she doesn’t reveal to said friend).

Guillaume Camet’s character sleeps with a younger woman but doesn’t agree with any of her rigid stance on throwing out all print books (which would include his career).

The reading public in this movie seemed to care about morals, but none of the lead characters, so would the real French person please stand up? What is definite in your society as far as propriety? I am truly curious.

And if sex is something you procure within and outside of relationships, where were the joie de vivre scenes for that? Sex seemed to be as exciting as going grocery shopping for cleaning supplies.

So please, would any Pierre, Monique, Gerard, Phillippe, anyone…please get back to me. Though I sound judgmental, I’m more curious about your cultural norms. Or was Non-fiction more science or dystopian fiction?

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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