Rarely has a book been so finely translated to the screen. By the same token, having not read the book will not alter appreciation for the film. "Life of Pi" is not just the story of a young man who weathers the elements in a lifeboat with a tiger, for, after all, that's unbelievable.
Doing what the French cinema does best, My Afternoons with writing essay Margueritte mines the gems found in relationships with friends and chance encounters while reproaching those who criticize others. Witness fiftyish Germain Chazes, caring for his dotty mother who has made clear to Germain from an early age that he is a mistake, incompetent, and will never amount to anything.
In its attempt to make serious points and to entertain, farce faces a challenge. It must maintain a delicate balance: playfully mock its exaggerated subject while avoiding cruelty or a level of serious indictment that would qualify its humor. The French showcase their expertise at this in director Francois Ozon's Potiche starring Catherine Deneuve with Gerard Depardieu and Fabrice Luchine.