Creating a buzz in any industry takes savvy, creativity, a sense of humor, and a willingness to do anything. In France, Léa Seydoux plays the titular role, a broadcast journalist and star whose personal life is just as provocative as her stories. With power, money, and fame come great sacrifice and a little bit of fabrication.
The script is sharp, engaging the audience initially in outrageous wit as it subtly shifts into pensive melancholy. Writer-Director Bruno Dumont fuses the tension between politics and journalism while exposing emotional manipulation in media editing. That’s merely half the plot.
Comic relief comes in actress Blanch Gardin who plays France’s producer and friend. As Lou, she massages France’s ego, makes her laugh, and provides an undying loyalty. Léa Seydoux plays France as a woman having a moral epiphany. Her perfect public persona begins to crumble after she is the cause of an accident. It’s a battle between ambition and morality, fame and self-actualization. Seydoux is captivating as she navigates the unraveling of France’s life. The nuance is breathtaking.
France’s wardrobe is exquisite, each piece tailored to perfection. Cinematographer David Chambille makes it a point to shoot Seydoux in long lingering close-ups, engulfing the audience in her thoughts. The finale shot says so much. The film raises the bar throughout its two-plus-hour run. The audience is put through the wringer, as your feelings towards France shapeshift. France is an exploration of perception and the cost of fame.