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France · 1996
Rated R · 1h 42m
Director Patrice Leconte
Starring Charles Berling, Jean Rochefort, Fanny Ardant, Judith Godrèche
Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance

To get royal backing on a needed drainage project, a poor French lord must learn to play the delicate games of wit at court at Versailles.

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Time Out by

Rather deliberately paced, and mired in archaic and abstruse puns, the film is perhaps more interesting than enjoyable. Still, Leconte's customary zest and mordant humour are there, lurking behind the claustrophobic production design and free-spirited camerawork.


San Francisco Chronicle by Edward Guthmann

With a surgeon's precision and trenchant wit, director Patrice Leconte slices open the French upper classes of the late 18th century and reveals the black, wilting heart beneath the pomp and pretense.


The New York Times by Janet Maslin

As written by Remi Waterhouse, who draws on real historical detail here, Ridicule satirizes this world of absurd protocol while it proves that skewering fatuousness and snobbery, however obviously, is never out of style.


The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

Ridicule convincingly establishes a sense of dread that comes with living in constant fear of public humiliation. And, though it's set in the past, its depiction of wealth-bloated politicians who maintain a wide gulf between actions and rhetoric seems timeless.


Austin Chronicle by Marjorie Baumgarten

Director Patrice Leconte (The Hairdresser's Husband, Monsieur Hire) again displays his keen observation of the minute details that transpire between people, though Ridicule doesn't share the same mordant perversity as his previous American successes. It does prove that certain games that people play never go out of fashion.

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