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Koch Lorber presents
God Is Great and I'm Not (Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite) (2001)

François: You doing OK?
Michèle: Yeah, I'm a Buddhist now.

- Edouardo Baer, Audrey Tautou

Review By: Rich Rosell   
Published: May 11, 2004

Stars: Audrey Tautou, Edouard Baer
Other Stars: Julie Depardieu, Catherine Jacob, Philippe Laudenbach, Max Tzwangue, Mathieu Demy, Atmen Kelif
Director: Pascale Bailly

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild language)
Run Time: 01h:38m:04s
Release Date: May 11, 2004
UPC: 741952300793
Genre: foreign


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- B-B-B D-

DVD Review

With the international buzz generated by the magical wonder of Amélie, France's Audrey Tautou, at 24, finds herself in something of a trick bag. A memorable character like Amélie is one of those rare, defining moments in an actor's career, but by the same token serves to make followup roles seem like comparatively hollow retreads, at least to non-European film audiences. In Pascale Bailly's God Is Great and I'm Not—released the same year as Amélie—Tautou once again rolls and flashes her large, expressive eyes, acts like a free spirit and spends an inordinate amount of time simply looking ridiculously cute.

The story is pure romantic comedy fluff, with Tautou's hot shot model Michèle looking for a deeper, more spiritual meaning in her life after breaking up with her slightly dense boyfriend, Bertrand (Mathieu Demy). She recklessly bounds from one religion to another, until she falls for a slightly older man, a hard-working veterinarian named François (Edouardo Baer), who happens to be Jewish. What follows is Michèle's manic attempt to covert to Judaism, despite François' lack of interest in religion entirely. Her complaints that he is "not Jewish enough" falls on deaf ears, and her over-the-top immersion in converting becomes something of an all-consuming obsession that puts a heavy strain on the blossoming romance between the two.

Tautou plays Michèle like an "alternate universe" version of Amélie—a slightly off-balance young woman looking for love and purpose, who, this time around, exists in a decidedly more realistic-looking France. She leaps around like an over-caffeinated chimp one moment before slipping into slump-shouldered pouts or tossing off one of her trademark eye rolls balanced by a tiny smile. It's not as much acting as it is absurd gesturing, and Tautou is certainly adept at clicking through these physical machinations when needed. It may not be a particularly great performance, but right now it is largely what makes her such a watchable performer.

As a comedy, Bailly's film remains on the light side, and stays on the comfortable path of least resistance. He uses Tautou and her gesturing to great effect, and considering that she is the most effervescent character in the film it was probably a wise move. Baer's François seems a little bland to have captured the eye of such a carefree type as Michèle, but like all romantic comedies, you have to either accept the pairing or move on. The bottom line is that this is really Tautou's film to carry.

She does manage to carry it, too, because it is nearly impossible to not watch her when she is on the screen. I suppose this is testament to some kind of genuine magnetic charisma, though whether or not that will last forever at this point remains to be seen.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: B-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.66:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Koch Lorber has issued this title in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Colors are a bit muted, and the whole presentation teeters on being on the soft side. A few noticeable compression issues are present from time to time, and things like infrequent examples of edge enhancement are extremely minor distractions. No major blemishes are evident on the print.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchno


Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in a run-of-the-mill 2.0 French surround track. As a light romantic comedy, there isn't much of a call for a particularly aggressive mix, and dialogue here is simply presentable without being overwhelming. Rears do not get any significant usage, with the bulk of the material spread across the front channels.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 31 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: I had a screener copy to review with no extras whatsoever, but a blurb on the backcover states the final street release will have cast bios, a photo gallery and a trailer. That sounds like fancy talk for not much than I didn't have on the screener. Your mileage may vary.

The disc is cut into a healthy 31 chapters, and features English subtitles.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Wide-eyed Audrey Tautou is reason enough to seek out this cute French romantic-comedy, and her screen presence alone is captivating—even if her character here borders on annoying.

 


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