When Margaret begins to adapt the diary of a French philosopher and discovers his seduction of a young girl, the girl's maturing sexuality and Margaret's romantic fantasies become intertwined. In the name of research, the writer goes to stay in the chateau - now run by nuns - where she embarks on a fling with a sweet sound engineer called Martin, putting her marriage in jeopardy.
A contender for cinematic oddity of the year, this bears the hallmarks of an idea conceived when its creators were totally out of their heads - though not to the extent that it's funny. Early attempts at witty repartee fall flat as we are introduced to nutty scribe Margaret Nathan (Posey) and her stubbly hubby Edward (Northam), an English professor with whom she is always arguing. "Save some insanity for menopause," he tells her when the script perks up. Their friends are a familiar bunch of strung-out, hung-up academics, though Brooke Shields is magnificently camp as a bisexual artist chum of Margaret's sister, Till (McGovern).
When Margaret begins to adapt the diary of a French philosopher (Stephane Freiss), we are whisked back 200 years to a chateau where said frilly-shirted charmer introduces a young girl (Justine Waddell) to what appears to be his version of the Kama Sutra. After that, the girl's maturing sexuality and Margaret's romantic fantasies become intertwined. In the name of research, the writer goes to stay in the chateau - now run by nuns - where she embarks on a fling with a sweet sound engineer called Martin (Patrick Bruel). This leads the Nathans to re-evaluate their relationship, and reach a pretty conservative conclusion.
This first feature effort by writer-director Skeet is based on a comic novel called Rameau's Niece but while it's impossible to take anyone in the movie seriously - both indie queen Posey and Mimic star Northam look rather bemused - they're not wildly amusing either, while moments of melodrama, such as when Margaret seduces her dentist, mingle with arty-farty dinner discussions. Ambitious, and never quite hitting its marks.
Ambitious intellectual comedy that never quite hits the mark