In True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor, David Mamet writes about how he's seen actors adopt the neuroses of characters they play because "our suggestibility knows no limits." Director/co-writer Philippe Le Guay's "Cycling with Molière" amusingly illustrates Mamet's observation.
A TV star (Lambert Wilson) travels to Brittany's Île de Ré to try and recruit an actor pal who quit showbiz in disgust (Fabrice Luchini). Wilson wants Luchini to perform with him in a stage version of "The Misanthrope." Soon they're rehearsing Molière in Luchini's crumbling house -- taking breaks to tangle with the odd local porn star or truth-telling divorcé. The visit echoes "The Misanthrope"'s bitter comedy of aristocratic manners more than a little.
The island setting is lovely and the few forays into slapstick are fairly lame, but Wilson and Luchini's dramatic tanglings are fun to watch -- particularly when they furiously rehearse arguments between Molière's angry Alceste and his more politic pal Philinte, then switch roles and reverse the dynamic.
(France; 104 min.) Grade: B. Showtimes:
- 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, Cinemagic
- 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, Fox Tower