At The Movies: Driving Madeleine

You realise from the outset that taxi driver Charles (Dany Boon) is struggling financially and certainly shows signs of the resultant stress. He is offered a job to drive a client from one side of Pris to the other so is initially reluctant. When told he can start his meter straight away he accepts.

When he goes to the riverside house and gets no answer at the gate he begins honking the horn in irritation. A cantankerous old lady, Madeleine (French screen legend Line Renaud) sitting opposite admonishes him before getting into his taxi. Madeleine reveals that she has been forced by health authorities to move out of her house into an Aged Care facility – much against her will.

He starts to regret his decision to take the job as it looks like he is about to hear her life story! Her story begins in 1944 and the liberation of France by the Allies, and her infatuation as a 16-year old girl with an American GI. It is soon apparent that Madeleine wants to prolong her entry to the nursing home as she asks Charles to drive her to some old haunts.

As the journey extends and her story, including living in a violent relationship, becomes more interesting, Charles (and me, by the way) became captivated by her life. Charles realises how insignificant his problems really are too, and they soon become friends. Late in the day he receives a call from the nursing home, angry that she is a few hours late after her expected arrival time. Charles is enjoying his time with Madeleine and extends the journey even longer by taking her out to dinner.

One of the delights of this movie, apart from the acting, was being treated to the delightful sights of Paris both during the day and at night. This is a movie I would like to see again and I highly recommend it. It is in French with English subtitles, so watching it a second time will allow me time to focus on the movie and not needing to read what is being said.

Movie Review By John Glennie

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