This cheerfully perverse french film — a bonbon spiked with wit and malice — starts by asking us to accept a preposterous notion: that businessman Bernard, played by the great Gerard Depardieu, would leave his gorgeous, leggy wife, Florence (Carole Bouquet), for short, dumpy Colette (Josiane Balasko), his office temp. It’s a tribute to the wicked craft of writer-director Bertrand Blier (Get Out Your Handkerchiefs) that the situation soon seems, well, not inevitable but tantalizing.
Lust occurs between bodies. Love occurs between personalities. Because we see the outsides of others but know the thoughts of ourselves, this truth causes a great deal of unhappiness and misunderstanding. And that is the subject of “Too Beautiful for You,” the story of a man who has a beautiful wife and yet falls in love with his dumpy secretary.
She isn’t much to look at – so you might say, unless you saw the dreaminess in her eyes after she has been brought to passion. She wears fuzzy sweaters that she pulls down over the skirts that cling to her generous hips. She knows little about the cosmetic arts. Her hair style is sensible – which means that after you wash it and dry it, it looks washed and dried. The moment he lays eyes on her, he is thunderstruck. Her presence speaks to something deep and elemental inside of him. He cannot tear his eyes away from her.
His name is Bernard. He is played by Gerald Depardieu, that superb French actor who always seems afraid to break something. Her name is Colette. She is played by Josiane Balasko with such an honesty that you understand why anyone would love her. The wife, the woman who fulfills all standards of modern fashionable beauty, is played by Carole Bouquet, who in other films has shown herself to be warm and comical, but in this film is just what she’s supposed to be – a woman whose beauty is no match for a woman who can touch a man’s heart.
In “Too Beautiful for You,” Bertrand Blier tells the story of these people in a curious way that takes a little getting used to. He opens with strong, stark images of passion, and then allows some of the characters to talk directly to the audience, and then uses fantasy scenes in which we see what it would be like if the fears of adulterers were ever made real. In the most startling of the fantasies, the wife addresses a dinner party at which Colette is present, and tells her friends that she knows that have always hated her because she was too beautiful.
Too Beautiful for You (French: Trop belle pour toi) is a 1989 French comedy-drama film written and directed by Bertrand Blier. It tells the story of Bernard (Gérard Depardieu), a well established BMW car dealer in the South of France, who’s cheating on his beautiful wife (Carole Bouquet) with his ordinary-looking secretary (Josiane Balasko).
Too Beautiful for You (1989)
Directed by: Bertrand Blier
Starring: Gérard Depardieu, Josiane Balasko, Carole Bouquet, François Cluzet, Roland Blanche, Myriam Boyer, Denise Chalem, Stéphane Auberghen, Juana Marques
Screenplay by: Bertrand Blier
Production Design by: Théobald Meurisse
Cinematography by: Philippe Rousselot
Film Editing by: Claudine Merlin
Costume Design by: Michèle Cerf
Set Decoration by: Jean-Louis Dalloz, Martine Faure, Michel Lagrange, Xavier Legris
Distributed by: AMLF
Release Date: May 12, 1989