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Divorce, Le (2003) - movie overview

Divorce, Le (2003)

User Rating
(33 votes)
Critic Rating
(15 reviews)
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Quotes (3)
Trivia (1)
Plot Description
Shooting Locations

Release Date
• USA: Aug 8, 2003
• UK: 19 Sep 2003
DVD Release Date
• R1: Jan 27, 2004
• R2: 27 Jan 2004

Official Website:
Divorce, Le Website

MPAA Rating
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements and sexual content.

Running Time
1 hour, 57 minutes

Country France, USA

Studio Interscope Communications, Merchant Ivory Productions, Radar Pictures

More info on

Other Titles
• Le Divorce

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Genre: Romance, Drama, Comedy, Infidelity, Marriage, Love, Murder, Hostage, Police, Culture Clash

Tagline: Everything sounds sexier in French.

Plot: When two American sisters become caught up in the intimate intrigue of Paris, cultures and human passions collide - and the result is a comedy of manners and morals, money and marriage, sex and sorority that sheds incandescent light on what it means to be an American abroad.

LE DIVORCE follows the journey of Isabel Walker (Kate Hudson), a quintessential young Californian newly arrived in the City of Light to visit her pregnant sister, Roxeanne (Naomi Watts). A darkly romantic poet, Roxy has just been jilted by her scoundrel husband, Charles-Henri de Persand (Melvil Poupaud), and it appears they are headed for "le divorce." Meanwhile, Isabel leaps into l'amour with a married French diplomat (Thierry Lhermitte) who happens to be the uncle of Roxy's soon-to-be-ex. As scandal ensues, the American idealism and irrepressible spirit of the Walker sisters comes up against the French sophistication and stubborn rationalism of the Persand family. Complicating the two families' relations is a painting in Roxy's possession that is discovered to be worth millions of dollars. And then, quite suddenly, a crime of passion disrupts all the scheming and culture clashes - and opens up new possibilities for understanding.

Based on the best-selling novel by Diane Johnson, LE DIVORCE is a new

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 External Reviews
external linkAs it is, ''Le Divorce'' is tasteful, but almost entirely without flavor. It is tough work to sit through a comedy made by filmmakers with so little sense of timing and no evident sense of humor.

external linkLe Divorce moves at a frantic enough pace to keep most viewers interested, if not entirely engaged. Although all of the "action" occurs in the final act, there's plenty going on throughout the entire film. If Ivory had enabled the viewers to really care about one (or more) of the characters, the proceedings would have been more meaningful. 2.5/4
--James Berardinelli (ReelViews)

external link"Le Divorce" doesn't work on its intended level, because we don't care enough about the interactions of the enormous cast. But it works in another way, as a sophisticated and knowledgeable portrait of values in collision. 3/4
--Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)

external linkThe problem may be that Ivory, an American who has frequented Paris for half a century, treats the city as the film's main character, to some degree. He certainly highlights its beauty and character.
--Ron Weiskind (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

external linkAnother eloquent character-driven story from Merchant Ivory, this comedy of manners rests on the inherent differences in social rules and values between French and American cultures. 8/10
--Avril Carruthers (

external linkLe Divorce has a fluid, happy grace to it that few filmmakers would be capable of pulling off. 4/5
--Chris Barsanti (

external linkAnd while the movie does occasionally suffer from an overstuffed plot, there's no denying that Le Divorce is consistently entertaining. 2.5/4
--David Nusair (Reel Film Reviews)

external linkIvory's movie - which veers erratically between sugar-coated romance, broad farce, and risible melodrama - is too wrapped up in its convoluted plot to provide anything more than trifling insights. 2/5
--Neil Smith (BBC Films)

external linkIt seems on the face of things like a demure comedy of manners. But the boorish jokes about clueless Americans and ridiculous Frenchies are presented without finesse or point. 2/4
--Jami Bernard (New York Daily News)

external linkNice-looking but extremely messy film, populated with irritating characters and brimming with infuriating dialogue. Le disastre. 1/5
--Matthew Turner (ViewLondon)

 Directed by
James Ivory
The Remains of the Day, A Room with a View, Howards End
 Written by
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
The Remains of the Day, A Room with a View, Howards End
Kate Hudson
Almost Famous, The Skeleton Key, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Naomi Watts
King Kong, The Ring, Mulholland Dr.
Leslie Caron
Chocolat, An American in Paris, Damage
Glenn Close
Mars Attacks!, Air Force One, Dangerous Liaisons
Sam Waterston
The Killing Fields, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Serial Mom
Stockard Channing
Grease, Smoke, Practical Magic
Jean-Marie Lhomme
Oeil écarlate, L'
 Music By
Richard Robbins
The Remains of the Day, A Room with a View, Howards End

external linkThough there's the odd cute moment, and after the initial rushed introductions you start to care about the characters, the film lurches from clunky comedy to melodrama and back. Worse, it feels both overstuffed and brutally cut down to a two-hour length. 2.5/4
--Jonathan Foreman (New York Post)

external link"Le Divorce" is hectic and it shortchanges several characters, but Ivory's direction is so polished and smooth and full of smart observations that I never found my attention lagging.
--Edward Guthmann (San Francisco Chronicle)

external linkA polished piece of film-making, and a welcome antidote to the less subtle portrayals of the Franco-American relations found currently in the world media. A bit inconsequential, though... 7/10
--Anton Bitel (Movie Gazette)

external link"Le Divorce" is hectic and it shortchanges several characters, but Ivory's direction is so polished and smooth and full of smart observations that I never found my attention lagging.
--Edward Guthmann (San Francisco Chronicle)

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