Fabrice Luchini is one of those French film stars known in America seemingly only to lovers of French film, for performances in Moliere, Intimate Strangers, Uranus and many others.
He's always a marvel of economy, evincing surprise, anger, cunning, disappointment - all with just a flicker of an eyebrow or a minute down- or upturn of the lips. He gets a deliciously full-bodied role in Anne Fontaine's The Girl from Monaco, as the fulcrum in a seesaw tale of lust and loyalty.
Luchini plays attorney Bertrand Beauvois, a criminal defense attorney defending the mother (Stephane Audran, still ravishing at 76) of a mobster from a murder charge in Monaco. Because of the high-profile nature of the case, the mobster assigns Bertrand an around-the-clock bodyguard (Roschdy Zem) to drive him and keep track of him while he's in town, which Bertrand resents, feeling that it's an affectation.
The bodyguard, Christophe, is taciturn and unobtrusive. But Bertrand feels Christophe is either cramping his style or making him feel ridiculously visible. Gradually, however, he comes to appreciate the quiet chaperone's skills - and connections.
Bored after his days in court, Bertrand starts seeking nightlife, using Christophe as his guide. On one such jaunt, he meets Audrey (Louise Bourgoin), a local TV weather girl who believes her ticket to stardom is an idea for a show about celebrity pets. Bertrand winds up spending a night with her, bristling when Christophe warms him that one night should be enough and that Audrey is bad news.
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