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"THE CLOSET"
(2000) (Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy None Heavy Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Moderate Moderate Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Subtitled Comedy: Opinions and attitudes change toward a boring and lonely accountant after he decides to pretend he's gay to save his job.
PLOT:
Francois Pignon (DANIEL AUTEUIL) is a forty-something accountant at a condom company who's just accidentally overheard that he's about to be fired. This seems to be the last straw for Francois who still hasn't recovered from his wife, Christine (ALEXANDRA VANDERNOOT), leaving him two years ago, or the fact that their 17-year-old son, Franck (STANISLAS CREVILLÉN), essentially wants little or nothing to do with him.

Contemplating jumping from his balcony, Francois is interrupted by his new neighbor Jeanne-Pierre Belone (MICHEL AUMONT), who assures him that things aren't that bad and that he'll figure out a way for Francois to save his job. His plan turns out to be superimposing Francois' head onto the photo of a gay couple, anonymously mailing it to his company, and then letting the politically correct chips fall where they may.

Not surprisingly, word of the photos spreads like wildfire through the company, not only saving Francois' job, but also having the big boss, Mr. Kopel (JEAN ROCHEFORT), telling everyone to lay off the gay jokes and treat Francois, who's straight but doesn't deny the rumors lest the ruse be discovered, with kid gloves.

While Francois' immediate boss, Ms. Bertrand (MICHÈLE LAROQUE), and coworker, Ariane (ARMELLE DEUTSCH), are both suspicious and surprised about this revelation, the firm's PR director, Guillaume (THIERRY LHERMITTE), decides to teach the company's resident homophobe, Félix Santini (GÉRARD DEPARDIEU), a lesson by stating that his job is in jeopardy if he doesn't become Francois' good friend.

As the reluctant worker does just that, Francois must contend with everyone else, including his estranged family, changing their opinions and attitudes toward him as he finds his new identity liberating and himself finally growing as a person.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or French comedies, it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For a scene of sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DANIEL AUTEUIL plays a lowly, but straight accountant who decides to follow his neighbor's advice and let others believe he's gay to save his job. Accordingly, he doesn't deny being gay, and also briefly smokes a joint, has sex with Bertrand, and uses some profanity.
  • MICHEL AUMONT plays his older gay neighbor who hatches the gay act scheme to help Pignon save his job. He briefly uses some profanity.
  • GÉRARD DEPARDIEU plays one of the officers at the company where Pignon works who uses some profanity, and makes disparaging remarks about Pignon and gays, but completely changes his tune - to extreme degrees - when he's told -as a joke - that he'll lose his job if he doesn't befriend his coworker.
  • THIERRY LHERMITTE plays the company's PR director who decides to teach an associate a lesson by spreading a false rumor about the security of his job.
  • MICHÈLE LAROQUE plays Francois' immediate boss who become suspicious of the revelation about him being gay. She eventually has sex with him at work.
  • JEAN ROCHEFORT plays the big boss who uses some profanity and tries to do the politically correct thing regarding Francois.
  • STANISLAS CREVILLÉN plays Francois' 17-year-old estranged son who wants nothing to do with his dad until he believes he's gay. He also smokes a joint.
  • ALEXANDRA VANDERNOOT plays his mother who wants nothing to do with Francois, her ex-husband.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated comedy. That rating comes from one sexual encounter where a man and woman have sex at work (seen from a somewhat distant aerial view) and includes movement, related sounds and partial nudity. They work at a condom factory where such prophylactics are seen on the assembly line (and one character wears a large one on his head during a gay parade).

    The main gist of the plot is about a man pretending to be gay to save his job (although he does this more through having others perceive him that way rather than him acting that way). We see a doctored photo of him that shows his head on the body of another man who's in a gay establishment wearing pants that reveal his bare buttocks. Some sexually related comments are also made.

    Profanity consists of at least 9 "s" words, while other expletives and colorful phrase are also present (all in French with English subtitles). Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including homophobic and gay-bashing ones, which lead to some men beating up another man off camera, and one man briefly attacks another out of frustration.

    Meanwhile, the protagonist is divorced from his wife and his teenage son wants nothing to do with him (although that changes later in the film). That man and his son do briefly share a marijuana joint, while various characters drink including the protagonist who briefly passes out from having too much wine.

    If the above summary doesn't answer or address your concerns about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who might be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what's present and occurs in it.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Santini asks a photographer if he was drunk while taking their company photo (he wasn't as far as we could tell).
  • Jeanne-Pierre invites Pignon over to his place for a drink where they have some cognac.
  • Pignon and Jeanne-Pierre drink some more.
  • Some people have wine with their meal in a restaurant.
  • Pignon and Bertrand have wine with dinner while working late at the office. After she starts making him nervous by asking too many questions, he guzzles down his wine and eventually passes out from that.
  • Pignon and Jean-Pierre have wine with dinner.
  • Santini's wife brings him a drink.
  • Franck (a teenager) lights up a joint and then passes it to his dad (Pignon) who takes a drag before telling him not to smoke that sort of stuff. He later tells Christine that he shared a joint with Franck and that it was good.
  • People have champagne at a party.
  • Pignon orders a glass of champagne while at dinner with his ex-wife (while others around them have wine).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Pignon carries out the ruse (lying about his sexuality) in order to keep his job by having others fear being politically incorrect toward him.
  • Various characters, including Santini, Ariane, Christine and others, display homophobic or gay-bashing tendencies, and use terms such as "fag," "faggot," "flamer," "sissy," "queen," "fruit" and "dyke" when talking about gay people. They also say that you can see or tell that people are gay right away.
  • Christine and Franck avoid Pignon, thinking he's dull or a drag and don't answer the phone when he calls. Franck also avoids his father when he can (although that changes later in the film).
  • Santini jokes that it's better to have a gay person on their back "than up our..." (he doesn't finish the thought, but the presumed reference is to anal sex).
  • Guillaume and others lie to Santini about the status of his job security resting with how he treats Pignon (forcibly causing him to act nice).
  • Santini refers to a black manager as a "spade."
  • Ariane goads two of Santini's macho friends to beat up Pignon after they report that he was ogling some teenagers (he wasn't).
  • Some viewers may object to Pignon allowing his teenage son to smoke a joint in front of him (and taking a drag himself).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Two thugs don ski masks and follow Pignon's car into a parking garage to beat him up (but the scene is short and we don't see the actual confrontation).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases (in French with English subtitles): "Holy sh*t," "You're in deep sh*t," "Damn that faggot," "Bare-assed," "Tight ass," "Balls" (testicles), "Bastard(s)," "Scumbag," "Nuts" (crazy), "Chick" (woman), "Bitch," "Screw" (nonsexual) and "Shut your trap."
  • Various characters, including Santini, Ariane, Christine and others, display homophobic or gay-bashing tendencies, and use terms such as "fag," "faggot," "flamer," "sissy," "queen," "fruit" and "dyke" when talking about gay people. In addition, Santini refers to a black manager as a "spade."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • The following occurs in French with English subtitles: At least 9 "s" words, 1 slang term using male genitals ("d*ckhead"), 1 slang term for sex ("lay"), 1 slang term for breasts ("t*ts"), 9 asses (1 used with "hole"), 4 damns, 3 craps, 1 hell and 1 use of "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • On many occasions, we see a photo of two men in a gay bar, with one of them having his hand on the other man's bare butt cheek (that man is wearing leather pants with most of the seat cut out). Pignon's face is digitally inserted into the photograph to make it look like he's the one wearing those pants.
  • Pignon and the others work at a rubber manufacturer that specializes in producing condoms. Thus, on several occasions we see condoms going buy on an assembly line (stretched over long cylinders) or in their boxes/packaging.
  • Santini jokes that it's better to have a gay person on their back "than up our..." (he doesn't finish the thought, but the presumed reference is to anal sex).
  • In further trying to set him up, Guillaume tries to get Santini to talk to Pignon about rugby and that the best part are the showers, the nude, glistening bodies, and putting soap on others. Santini eventually does just that with Pignon, mentioning showering with a naked buddy (none of which, of course, is seen as they're just talking about that in a comedy fashion). Someone then jokes about Santini saying that he hates gays because he's really a latent one.
  • Bertrand mentions that Pignon is no "sex freak."
  • Ariane bumps into Pignon, causing coffee to spill on her blouse, giving her something of a wet T-shirt look.
  • After Pignon passes out from drinking too much wine, Bertrand tries to remove his shirt to check for a tattoo on his arm that she spotted in the doctored photo. After unbuttoning most of his shirt while kneeling before him, Bertrand is then interrupted by someone who comes in and thinks he's walked into a sexual encounter.
  • After Pignon reports the above to Jean-Pierre, the latter tells the former that claiming your gay turns on some women.
  • After her boss tells Bertrand to lay off Pignon (as far as sexually harassing him, which is what Pignon reported), the boss tells Bertrand that there are plenty of men in the office who would like to be harassed by her.
  • One of Santini's macho friends talks about a program he saw where the man a woman is interested in turned out to be her father. He mentions that she had nice "t*ts" and then says to imagine the "chick" you're wanting to "lay" turning out to be your daughter.
  • Pignon learns that his company wants him to be in an upcoming gay parade and want him to wear a large condom "hat" (which looks like a huge condom that he puts on his head).
  • Santini eventually seems to become enamored with Pignon, going so far as to asking him to move in with him (his jealous wife earlier stated that the next thing that will happen is that Pignon will ask Santini to lie next to him).
  • We see a gay parade where Pignon is on a float wearing the above condom hat and other condom structures are on the float with him.
  • Pignon holds Santini's hand (after the latter feels weak) as they enter a surprise party, causing others to think they're a gay couple.
  • Bertrand comes on to Pignon at work, kissing him and taking off his jacket. The two then kiss some more (with some heavy breathing) as they get onto a table. He asks if she has any protection and she says that she doesn't, although she normally does in her purse. They then look around the table and notice all of the condom boxes.
  • We then see a long, aerial shot of them having sex on the table with him thrusting between her legs on the table and his pants partially down (the top of his bare butt is visible and we hear her sexual sounds). Just then, their boss brings a tour group through the factory and all of them spot the sex scene, with the boss quickly improvising by commenting that the two are testing the product (condoms). A comment is later made about them "making wild love" and that those tourists want to come back for another visit.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Pignon is paying alimony to Christine, as they've been divorced for two years. We also learn that Franck, his 17-year-old son, doesn't want much to do with him (although that changes as the story progresses) and this causes Pignon much duress.
  • Santini's wife becomes suspicious of his behavior, thinks he's having an affair (first heterosexual, then homosexual) and eventually leaves him.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • How people's perceptions of others can change with new information - whether true or not - about them.
  • Homosexuality.
  • Pignon's rebirth in his and the eyes of others.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Although we don't see the attack, two of Santini's macho friends sneak up and beat up Pignon (Jean-Pierre finds him doubled over on the floor from the attack). We later hear that they broke his collarbone (and we see him in sling).
  • After Pignon turns down Santini's offer to move in with him, Santini lunges out Pignon, knocking him to the floor and has him by the throat before others pull him away.
  • In order to be in the company photo, Bertrand violently rams his shoulder into the guy next to him, causing a domino effect that knocks down several people at the other end of the line.



  • Reviewed May 24, 2001 / Posted July 6, 2001

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