What happens when you take a Shakespearean aside just a few steps too far? That’s the ironic dilemma that acclaimed director Xavier Giannoli poses to his audience in his latest film, “Marguerite.” Loosely based on both the personal life and professional singing career of American noble Florence Foster Jenkins, the film tells the tale of eccentric socialite Marguerite Dumont, played by award-winning actress Catherine Frot, as she aspires to become a revered and publicly adored opera diva.
Set in the Roaring Twenties in Paris, the frivolous and free-spirited Marguerite spends her days hosting extravagant opera renditions in her opulent mansion, complete with gaudy costumes and an extensive orchestra. The debutante sings vivaciously and whole-heartedly, and no one has the courage to break the news to Marguerite: She sucks at singing.
When a young, aspirational journalist decides to write a wildly positive review of her private recital, Marguerite’s delusion begins to grow out of control, leading her toschedule her first public performance. With her trusty, artistically inclined butler (Denis Mpunga), spineless husband (André Marcon) and penny-pinching singing coach (Michel Fau) by her side, no one seems to have the grit, and most importantly the respect, to break the ever-growing lie they helped spread before she goes on stage in front of hundreds of strangers and peers.
“Marguerite” was nominated for 11 César awards, including best film and best actress, with Catherine Frot nabbing the latter. The film also won awards in best sound and best costume at the French Academy Awards. Before winning the prestigious prizes, the film was screened at the Venice and Telluride International Film Festival.
Before catching Giannoli’s “Marguerite” on its release on March 11, check out Indiewire’s exclusive clip above.