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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun

April 11th, 2016

The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Video on Demand

The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun

The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun is a French movie with an annoyingly long name. The film earned excellent reviews, but it debuted on Video on Demand, so it bombed in theaters. Additionally, while the Critics gave the film an 80% rating, moviegoers only gave it a 38% rating. Is this something that will appeal to critics, but not the average viewer?

The Movie

We are introduced to Dany Doremus, who works in an ad firm. Her boss, Michel, has a problem, as the opposition research came in and it is a mess. He fixed the writing, but now needs someone who type it out again. He asks her to come to his house to do the work, so that he can take it in the morning before his business trip. His wife, Anita and daughter, Sylvie, haven't seen Dany in years, so it will be a treat that they will be able to get together. He even offers to let Dany stay overnight in his guest room. One more thing, she's not supposed to tell any of the other ladies at her job that she's doing this. This sounds super creepy, but hey, it's the 1970s, it's a different time. She agrees and leaves a note that she's going to the sea, because as we heard in the opening voice-over, she's never been to the sea.

After Dany talks to Anita and Sylvie for a bit, the pair leave Dany alone in the house. (Anita is dropping Sylvie off at her grandmother's before meeting Michel at a cocktail party.) Dany gets down to work; however, she has a bit of wine and takes a nap before completing the work, so she will have to get the rest done in the morning. After handing her boss the work, he asks one more favor from Dany. Can she drive up with them to Orly, where the airport is, so she can take the car back? He doesn't want to leave it in a garage. She agrees, even though she's scared to drive his Thunderbird.

However, before going, Dany decides that, since she's never been to the sea, she should take the long way home and check it out. And by long way, I mean she will be driving about seven hours in the opposite direction to get there. While driving through a small town, a woman Dany has never met asks her if she is feeling better. Understandably, Dany is confused. The woman claims she was in her cafe earlier that morning. Dany says she was in Paris, but the woman is convinced otherwise. ... We are 25 minutes into the movie and we have finally reached the beginning of the plot. I think I know why there was a large discrepancy between the critics and the audience. More on that down below.

Dany gets a little agitated after leaving and thinks she might be a little paranoid, because technically she stole her boss's car. Granted, he did ask her to drive it, but only back to his house and not on a weekend road trip. Her mental state isn't improved after she is attacked in a bathroom at a gas station. Or maybe she is attacked. There are people there and they seem to think no one could have gotten to her without them seeing. Then when she talks to them, they do say she was there that morning. They argue and when she leaves, he apologizes for what he did last night. A similar thing happens again with a cop, before she makes it to Chalon, a small town. Not only is she recognized by one of the guests there, there's a form she filled out when she stayed there last night.

Is she losing her memory? Is she losing her mind? Is there a doppelganger she's chasing?

Critics and the average person consume media in different ways. The average person watches a movie every two weeks, including in theaters, on DVD, TV, internet, etc. The average critic reviews two movies a week, sometimes a lot more. Because of this, critics tend to crave films that do something different and have a sense of style. The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun has a ton of style and that will appeal to a critic that has to sit through three or four much more generic films. However, even those who like this movie will have to admit the style does get in the way of the story at times. Worse still, as I said above, it takes 25 minutes to get to the story in this movie. I can image that the average moviegoer would get tired and give up before they reached that point.

That's too bad, because in my opinion, there's a lot to this movie that is worth the time. This includes the style. I know, it is style over substance at times, but I really like the Film Noir style and this style does also set it apart. It does take too long for the plot to kick into gear, but once it does, there's a great mystery being unraveled. Freya Mavor is also excellent as Dany and she's able to both convey the timid nature of Dany we see in the beginning and the character's reaction to the deepening mystery. I definitely want to see more of Freya Mavor, as well as more films from director Joann Sfar. His previous work includes some animated films, but it is clear he can handle live action as well.

The Extras

The extras begin with a 27-minute long interview / making of featurette with Joann Sfar. There is also a three-minute look at some of the paintings Joann Sfar did while making the movie.

The Verdict

I love The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun. I love the Film Noir style and I found both the mystery and the leading lady very engaging. However, even I will admit that the film is overly-stylized and that the beginning moves way too slowly. If you like Film Noir like I do, then I think the DVD or Blu-ray is worth picking up. If you are just interested in an engaging mystery and are willing to sit through 25 minutes of build-up, then a rental is probably fine.

Filed under: Video Review, Joann Sfar, Stacy Martin, Benjamin Biolay, Freya Mavor, Noémie Morales