Molière, a French film directed by Laurent Tirard, is a tale of the famous French satirist that reworks the playright’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (1670) and Tartuffe (1664) into a speculative biopic of what he might actually have experienced in the period of his life that is a blank for historians. In 1658, when the movie begins, Molière (played by Romain Duris) and his troupe enter Paris to perform for the king and high society, having established their reputation by dint of acclaimed performances in the provinces. The action then reverts to an imagined time thirteen years earlier, when he is imprisoned for nonpayment of a debt, only to be bailed out by Monsieur Jourdain (played by Fabrice Luchini), who wants to learn how to act so that he can impress the beautiful Marquise du Parc (played by Annelise Hesme). Molière then assumes the role of Tartuffe, a priest as well as a tutor, whose presence at the Jourdain estate upsets the boring routine in delightful and humorous ways, including advances to Jourdain’s spouse Elmire (played by Laura Morante). Although the Tartuffe of the famous play enveigles himself into marrying Meanwhile, the cunning Marquis Dorant (played by Edouard Baer), manages to fleece a lot of money from Jourdain while marrying his son to Jourdain’s daughter Henriette (played by Fanny Valette), who thereby would have to abandon her sweetheart, who is of a lower social station. Since many imagined events are derived from the two celebrated plays, further review of the content is unnecessary for avid readers of literary masterpieces, who will be particularly amused by the transposition of characters from the plays to the film. In any case, the scene changes back to 1658, when Molière achieves immortality. The depiction of a crass capitalist seeking to ingratiate himself into the good graces of the increasingly bankrupt French nobility stands out as the main social commentary. MH

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