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March 2011

He's My Girl

cast: Antoine de Caunes, Mehdi Dehbi, Micha Lescot, Judith Magre, and Elsa Zylberstein

writer and director: Jean-Jacques Zilbermann

86 minutes (15) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Network DVD Region 2

RATING: 7/10
review by Tony Hill

He's My Girl

An amusing yet with serious moments movie, telling the tale of a middle-aged professional musician trying to get to grips with his rather confusing personal life. Simon (Antoine de Caunes - well-known to UK viewers as a TV presenter, initially with Jean-Paul Gautier, of EuroTrash, 1993-9) is both Jewish and gay and lives in a flat in one of the most cosmopolitan districts of Paris. He is a clarinet player leading a small group who specialise in upbeat versions of traditional Ashkenazi Jewish klezmer music. They are preparing for a concert tour to New York, and he is being hassled continually by the group's manager about rehearsals.

Simon also has two lovers vying for his attention: the rather sheepish Rapha�l (Micha Lescot), who is married and trying to make-up his mind whether he is gay or not, and the delectable Algerian transvestite Na�m/ Angela (Mehdi Dehbi). His troubles are further increased when he is forced to look after, in his flat, his truculent mother, Bella (Judith Magre) who is recovering from a hip operation. Then he learns that his ex-wife, Rosalie (Elsa Zylberstein) - from his hetero days - and his 10-year old son, Yankele (Taylor Gasman) - who he has never met - are coming to see him to introduce her new husband-to-be.

What more problems can beset him, we ask? These characters and the events they trigger swirl around Simon who seems to be happy to accept whatever comes his way. Maybe it is the acting style of Antoine de Caunes, but Simon never really seems to go out of his way to take the initiative, although as things develop, he does rather well, anyway.

Writer and director Jean-Jacques Zilbermann gives us a movie which is funny, serious and sad at times - and even manages to make banter between Simon and Na�m on Israeli-Arab relations a light-hearted affair. He's My Girl (aka: La folle histoire d'amour de Simon Eskenazy) is certainly well worth a watch if only for the wonderful performance by Dehbi as Na�m. Look out, also, for the tremendous (mimed) piece of clarinet-playing by Simon in a rehearsal session.



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