My Wife Is an Actress
("Ma Femme Est une Actrice") stars Charlotte Gainsbourg--ex-child star, daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, beautiful and accomplished actress--alongside her real-life husband Yvan Attal, who also directs. Attal is a humble sports journalist married to a famous international star (played by Gainsbourg) and uncomfortable with her celebrity. His first film as a director plays knowingly with off-screen reality: the two leads even use their own names, Charlotte and Yvan, for the characters they play.
In the film, Charlotte goes to London to appear in a romantic drama opposite British movie icon John (Terence Stamp, sending himself up with some luvvie-ish posturing). Left at home, Yvan torments himself with thoughts of his wife playing sex scenes with John and his jealousy puts their marriage at risk. His visits to her on the set in London only make things worse.
There's scope here for some good comedy, as well as an interesting exploration of how, in an actor's life, reality and artifice can snarl each other up. But Attal, who also scripted, makes his characters so shallow and two-dimensional that it's hard to believe in them, let alone care about them. A sub-plot about the squabbling between Yvan's sister and her husband over whether their unborn son should be circumcised (she's Jewish, he's not) feels tacked-on and tiresome. In aspiring to script and star in his directorial debut, Attal may have overstretched himself. Given a stronger script, this could have been a funnier or more searching film, or both.
On the DVD: My Wife Is an Actress comes to disc in a clear full-screen transfer, although the dialogue's a little muffled here and there--a fault of the original, not the transfer. By way of extras we get the theatrical trailer, a likeably relaxed 16-minute "making of" featurette and a handful of not very interesting deleted scenes. --Philip Kemp