Rock 'n Roll, the film

It all began when French cinema’s golden boy Guillaume Canet was knocked down a few pegs by a tactless journalist, who all but called him past it. In a flash, the actor-director dreamt up the plot for his anarchic mockumentary Rock’n Roll. Turning the camera on (a heightened version of) himself, he charts his ‘own’ acute spiral into mid-life crisis.

At 40-something his youthful looks are waning and, last nail in the coffin, he has just been cast in his first ‘father role’. Meanwhile, his real-life partner Marion Cotillard’s career is soaring, overshadowing his own – his greengrocer nicknames him Monsieur Cotillard. His pathetic attempts to prove he’s still a carefree youth see him squeeze into low-cut jeans, revealing an unflattering builder’s bum, and, in a stand-out scene, get an allergic reaction to cocaine.

Light-hearted derision makes way for searing satire as rudderless Guillaume’s destructive ego-trip hits full pelt. He grows addicted to Botox and parades around with a fish pout – rendering him virtually unemployable. Kudos to Cotillard, who is a really good sport as his co-star, and hilariously plays up to her reputation as a neurotic thesp unable to switch off.

The jacked-up romp is relentless, and its OTT digressions have split the French public. But everyone can agree that, middle-aged or not, Canet still has it. Highly recommended.

From France Today magazine

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