Friday, July 14, 2023

Paris in July: Driving Madeline (Une Belle Course)

For the last couple of years, my friend and I have made it our mission to make sure that we attend at least one movie from each of the international film festivals that are on throughout the year. Earlier this year, it was the French Film Festival, and we went to see a few movies because I never struggle to find French movies to watch. Some of the other festivals to are a bit tougher to find films to watch but not that one.

The first that we saw was a movie called November which we enjoyed. We followed that up with Two Tickets to Greece which was not too bad and then there was another movie called The Tasting, which I wrote about here.

There were, however, a couple of movies that I wanted to see which we didn't manage to fit in. One of those was a movie called Umami starring Gerard Depardieu and another was another foodie movie called Sugar and Stars. I think that this movie is coming to a nearby cinema next month so I will definitely be going to see this when it comes out.

Some of the festival films get a general release and one of these was a movie called Driving Madeleine which I went to see last weekend. 

Driving Madeline is a movie with a very simple premise. Charles is a Paris taxi driver. He works long days, driving around a city he barely sees, and he is barely making ends meet. He has financial difficulties and he is pretty much at the end of his tether. He gets offered a fare that will mean driving from one side of the city to the other. He isn't keen, but he takes the fare anyway.

His passenger is a 92 year old woman named Madeline Keller. She has hired this taxi to drive her from her family home to the aged care facility that she has been forced to move into. Along the way, she asks Charles to take her to some of the locations that were important to her during her life and reminisces with him, sharing her story, which we see through a series of flashbacks. Some of these are happy memories - her first real kiss with an American soldier during WWII, and others were not. We follow Madeline's story through the 1950s and 60s, and through her eyes we see how much has changed in terms of both the city of Paris and attitudes towards things like domestic violence.

It turns out that Madeline has had a somewhat turbulent life, one that shocks Charles as she reveals her story to him. And yet, she has a very positive outlook, reminding Charles of the importance of laughing and creating memories with those that he loves. 

Paris is very much an important part of this movie. As the pair drive through the city, we get to see many of the famous landmarks and the architectures that are so much of the Paris that we love. We also got to see the traffic! Having visited the city recently I found myself looking out for the places that we visited and the landmarks we saw. I found myself wondering if this movie would have had the same impact for me if it was filmed elsewhere, for example, in the city that I live in. I guess it could have but I loved the Paris setting.

You know where the movie is going to go which would be unusual in real life, but despite that, it is a beautiful movie. Legendary French actress and singer Line Renaud is fabulous as Madeline and Dany Boon is also good as the troubled driver Charles. I laughed and cried, I was reminded of the time that we had spent in Paris. When we came out of the movie my friend was talking about the bad movie etiquette exhibited by others in the cinema, but I was oblivious. I was that engrossed in the movie. I did notice that I wasn't the only person wiping away tears at the end of the movie.

Despite some of the heavy themes, it is a lovely movie which I enjoyed immensely.

Here's the trailer


  1. I watched the trailer. Lovely film. I hope I get to see it sometime.

  2. This movie looks absolutely wonderful! I hope it will air sometime on a streaming service so I can see it!

  3. I will definitely look for this one, Marg!



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