Let It Rain: Aggressively Middlebrow Filmmaking (Not a Compliment)


A specialist in choreographing talky scenes, Agnès Jaoui may also be the most aggressively middlebrow filmmaker working today. Her latest, which, like The Taste of Others (2000) and Look at Me (2004), she co-wrote with co-star (and former spouse) Jean-Pierre Bacri, dabbles in potentially provocative topics like racism and sexism—what one character keenly refers to as “ordinary humiliation”—only to quickly drop them for a Nina Simone–scored scene of gazing at old family photos. Solipsistic feminist writer and politician Agathe (Jaoui) returns to her childhood home in Provence to help her aggrieved younger sister sort through their dead mother’s affairs; while there, she agrees to be interviewed for a documentary on successful women by Karim (Jamel Debbouze), the son of her family’s housekeeper, and Michel (Bacri), a washed-up TV journo. Aiming to be a seriocomic movie of ideas but desperate not to offend or challenge, Let It Rain soon settles for being another smug comedy of bourgeois manners, with buzzing cell phones frequently deployed as exemplars of Our Modern Folly. Look at Me, with its consistent throughline of how hard it is for fat girls, seems like the work of a Redstocking in comparison.