Film: No laughing matter

The 1989 movie The War of the Roses, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner as a warring couple in the midst of history’s most bitter divorce, was a black comedy, but due to the charm and talent of its stars, it was funny.

Papa ou Maman, a bland, French retread of this theme, is a similar story, but with all the laughs removed.

Vincent (Laurent Lafitte) and Florence (Marina Fois) are a couple who have everything. They are successful at work – he’s an OB-GYN, she’s an engineer at an electric plant – and have three healthy children. But the spark is gone, and although they are the best of friends, they have decided to divorce. Their friends are stunned to hear this and warn them that the divorce process often turns ugly. But they insist that they can handle it, although for reasons they can’t explain they keep putting off telling their children about their plan.


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