It is 1967, and Paulette Van Der Beck (Juliette Binoche) and her husband Robert run an ultra-conservative school of domestic science and conjugal duty in Alsace. Then Robert dies, thanks to a disastrous rabbit stew served up by his gauche sister Gilberte (Yolande Moreau). Inept Paulette has to take the reins, aided by an old flame, banker André (Edouard Baer), and an unhinged nun, soeur Marie-Thérese (Néomie Lyvosky). But the revolutionary events of May ’68 are just around the corner, and even remote Alsace gets to hear about them, thanks to radio reports from the burning French capital. Soon Paulette is experiencing her own personal revolution.
How To Be a Good Wife opened into 850 screens in France when the lockdown allowed, showing to packed houses. The home audience appreciated the historical and tonal sensitivity Provost honed on biopics such as Séraphine and Violette, while TV scriptwriter Séverine Werba brings a certain sitcom energy. The film was nominated for four 2021 César Awards and won for Best Costume Design.
‘This slightly bonkers film traverses similar ground to Philippa Lowthorpe’s Misbehaviour, and does it with a similarly entertaining flair.’ - David Edwards, The Blurb.
’…a well-constructed social satire which takes on sixties ideals of womanhood at the dawn of a liberated cultural, sexual, and political revolution, with an impressive dose of French panache and style… How to Be a Good Wife is a delightful slice of nostalgic humour. With homages to classic melodrama and packing a well-pitched tone, not to mention a magnetic performance from Binoche, this is a breezy success.’ - Andrew McArthur, Culture Fix.
YourScreen audience comments:
‘Great fun. Hilarious and a special mention for the nun. Juliette Binoche also seemed to be enjoying herself.’