A Few Days With Me

  • 1988
  • 2 HR 11 MIN
  • PG-13

In this superbly acted, crafted, scripted, paced, and directed entertainment, veteran French director Claude Sautet (CHARLIE AND ROSALIE; A SIMPLE STORY) leaves his bourgeois characters behind in favor of a more youthful and invigorating tale. Auteuil (JEAN DE FLORETTE; MANON OF THE SPRING) stars as the heir to a chain of supermarkets who has just ended...read more

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In this superbly acted, crafted, scripted, paced, and directed entertainment, veteran French director Claude Sautet (CHARLIE AND ROSALIE; A SIMPLE STORY) leaves his bourgeois characters behind in favor of a more youthful and invigorating tale. Auteuil (JEAN DE FLORETTE; MANON OF THE

SPRING) stars as the heir to a chain of supermarkets who has just ended a stay in an asylum after battling his chronic indifference to his wife, family, and friends. His mother, Darrieux, runs the grocery empire with a closely knit team of supporters. Trying to bring her son back into the fold,

Darrieux agrees to let him visit the several out-of-town stores that are losing money. His first stop is Limoges, where he meets with store manager Marielle and spends the day examining the books. Auteuil is at first all business, ignoring Marielle's phony friendliness and declining his invitation

to have dinner as a guest of Marielle and his wife (Lavanant). On his way to the airport, however, Auteuil abruptly changes his mind and accepts the offer. At the dinner, after quietly listening to Marielle and his guests spout bourgeois political cliches, Auteuil politely attacks the party. They

are all shocked at his candor but can't kick him out since he is technically their employer. The following morning, rather than continuing to the next town on his itinerary, Auteuil rents a flat with the intent of spending some time in Limoges, much to Marielle and Lavanant's chagrin. Auteuil

imagines that it is here that he can once again communicate with others, that he can find people that he cares for and who will care for him. He therefore asks Marielle's maid, Bonnaire, to come to his barren apartment and serve at a dinner party. Unknown to the maid, the dinner party guests are

just two--Auteuil and Bonnaire. The initially insulted Bonnaire agrees to stay, gets drunk, and takes a liking to Auteuil. The following morning, he invites her to move in and redecorate, and to quit her job as Marielle's housemaid. The free-and-easy Bonnaire accepts his offer and the pair spend a

few idyllic days together. Auteuil is introduced into Bonnaire's circle and even develops a friendship with Lindon, the complacent young man who loves Bonnaire. Auteuil is not jealous of Lindon, and Lindon feels no threat from Auteuil. Things change, however, when Auteuil receives an emergency

phone call to return to Paris to attend to his ailing mother. Although the call turns out to be a ruse to get him back where he belongs, Auteuil accepts his responsibility as the supermarket heir and dives headlong into an examination of the company books, discovering that his mother's closest and

most trusted friend has embezzled some $500,000 in funds. Auteuil announces at a board meeting that he is surrendering his interest in the company--in all stores except Limoges, to which he returns only to find that Bonnaire has left both him and Lindon and moved in with sleazy club owner Ismael.

Auteuil makes every effort to persuade Bonnaire to return to him, an offer she would accept were it not for her fear of her present lover. Fate intervenes when the despondent Lindon stabs Ismael and Auteuil takes the blame, paving the way for Lindon and Bonnaire to start anew. Their relationship

fails, however, and Lindon leaves town permanently. Auteuil is sent back to the confines of an asylum, where Bonnaire, realizing just how much she loves him, comes to visit--for more than just a few days.

Sautet's first film since the 1983 Yves Montand starrer GARCON!, A FEW DAYS WITH ME was met with a lukewarm reception when it opened in Paris in August 1988, despite the box-office appeal of Sandrine Bonnaire and Daniel Auteuil. Running a lengthy (but not overlong) 131 minutes, the film is a

wonderfully warm and romantic character comedy that exists, not as a piece of great cinema or intellectual stimulation, but as a well-made entertainment. Although the film is technically top-notch, it is the acting that makes A FEW DAYS WITH ME such a joy. Everyone in the cast, from leads Bonnaire

and Auteuil to a collection of colorful minor characters, delivers an excellent performance. The film revolves, however, around Auteuil, the character whose armor of indifference towards the world must be penetrated. After spending the first few days with Bonnaire, he begins to feel again, taking

a liking to her friends, and they to him. He learns that he does have a place in the world--not among the corporate board rooms and back-stabbing employees of his Parisian company, but in Limoges. A FEW DAYS WITH ME is filled with memorable scenes, especially a dinner party thrown by Bonnaire and

Auteuil at the newly decorated flat. Auteuil, dressed in a bathrobe, surprises his first guests--the formally dressed Marielle and Lavanant--when he pretends that they've come on the wrong night. The guests that follow are as diverse as can be, including one couple who arrive dressed as Robin Hood

and Little Bo Peep, misled by Auteuil into believing that they were to attend a costume party. Excess is the word of the night, and after much drink and dance, a bond is formed that erases the class differences that marked the party's start. Shown in the US as a competing entry in the Chicago

International Film Festival. (In French; English subtitles.) (Nudity, profanity, adult situations.)

Cord-Cutting Guide. Credit: Robert Rodriguez / TV Guide

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