10 FRENCH COMEDY FILMS YOU MUST SEE

French comedy films collage I love French cinema, especially comedy films. French comedies have a particular humor, usually making emphasis on social or racial differences. Many times they are irreverent, unsettling and “politically incorrect”… These characteristics in my opinion reflect Frenchs’ culture and character, hence the difference with american comedies… These are 10 of my favourite French comedies, that will make you laugh, smile, think and occasionally cry…

1. INTOUCHABLES (THE INTOUCHABLES), 2011

French comedies Intouchables posterThe plot: Philippe is a quadriplegic millionaire who lives In Paris, and is interviewing candidates for the position of his carer. When he hires Driss, an African man, his boring life changes forever…

Go see it, because…The movie is actually a true story, based on the book A second wind written by Philippe Pozzo di Borgo (his real name). It’s a wonderful film, touching and funny at the same time. It’s about love, friendship and tolerance… Sy and Cluzet’s performances are just memorable…

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2. LE FABULEUX DESTIN D’ AMELIE POULAIN (AMELIE), 2001

French comedies Amelie posterThe plot: Amelie, a daydreamer waitress living in Paris, decides to anonymously help people being happy. By doing so, she discovers love and happiness herself.

Go see it, because… Amelie is original, romantic, heart-warming, showing that there is love and magic everywhere, even in simple things of life… Besides the excellent photography and the superb acting of Audrey Tautou, the magnificent music by Yann Tiersen adds up to make this movie a true gem…

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3. BIENVENUE CHEZ LES CH’TIS (WELCOME TO THE STICKS), 2008

French comedies Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tisThe plot: Philippe, a post office administrator living in the French south, is banished to the Far North of France, that he believes is a dreadful and cold place, with heavy-drinking people who speak an incomprehensible dialect called Ch’ti…Soon though he realises that things are actually not that bad…

Go see it, because…Bievenue chez les Ch’tis is France’s highest grossing film of all times. It’s a comedy about love and friendship, giving the message to avoid making assumptions or having preconceptions about people… It may lose some of the jokes when translated, so if possible, see it in French…

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4. QU’ EST-CE QU’ON A FAIT AU BON DIEU? (SERIAL (BAD) WEDDINGS), 2014

French comedies Qu'est-ce_qu'on_a_fait_au_bon_dieu?_posterThe plot: A catholic, bourgeois French couple has four daughters, the three older being married to a Muslim Arab, a Shepardi Jew, and a Chinese. Having a hard time to accept the new members of the family, their hopes are set on their younger daughter…

Go see it, because… This controversial film was a great box-office success in France, but it was not released in the USA and UK because it was considered “too racist and politically incorrect”. True, it is at times too cliché and eventually unsettling… But it’s hilarious, with great acting (Christian Clavier is superb), making fun of everybody, no race or religion is left outside… Go see it, provided that you don’t feel uneasy with religious or racial jokes…

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5. LA FAMILLE BELIER (THE BELIER FAMILY), 2014

French comedies La Famille BelierThe plot: Paula Bélier is the daughter of Gigi and Rodolphe and has a brother called Quentin. Her parents and brother are deaf, and rely on Paula as their contact to the rest of the world. When her music teacher discovers that she has a gift for singing -which obviously her family cannot understand- she faces the dilemma whether to stay with her family or follow her dreams…

Go see it, because… This feeling-good, touching film will make you laugh, but also shed some tears… Besides the great acting (all the actors learnt sign language for the movie) and clever dialogues, the movie deals with the issue of leaving our family, which certainly touched me on a personal level…Louane Emera (Paula) became known in France after her participation in a reality show, The Voice, and with this film she won a Cesar for Most Promising Actress.

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6. LE PRENOM (WHAT’S IN A NAME?), 2012

French comedies Le PrenomThe plot: Vincent is about to become a father, and he is invited for dinner by his sister and his brother-in-law; there he also finds a childhood friend. When he reveals the name they chose for their unborn son, his response provokes a discussion that eventually gets out of hands.

Go see it, because…This film is actually an adaptation from a theatrical play; it has great performances and very intelligent dialogues. There are many similarities with Carnage by Roman Polansky, a film I also enjoyed very much.

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7. L’ARNACOEUR (HEARTBRAKER), 2010

French comedies L ArnacoeurThe plot: Alex and his sister run a business designed to break up relationships. He is hired by Juliette’s father to prevent her from marrying an English millionaire. But Alex has only one week to seduce Juliette…

Go see it, because… This is a funny, smart, witty and romantic film. Roman Duris and Vanessa Paradis have great chemistry, and the Montecarlo settings make it even more enjoyable…

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The following 3 movies are much older, but classical, must-see, timeless French comedies:

8. LES VISITEURS (THE VISITORS), 1993

French comedies Les visiteurs posterThe plot: A medieval knight and his servant, who were supposed to travel to the past to correct a fatal error, are accidentally transported to modern times by an old sorcerer. While trying to find a way to return home, they must cope with the cultural and technological differences between medieval and modern times…

Go see it, because…The plot is extremely original, just imagine what can happen when men living in the medieval times see “horseless chariots” (cars) and many other modern inventions… Les Visiteurs was a huge box office success in France. Reno and Clavier reprised their roles in a sequel, Les couloirs du temps: Les visiteurs II, and the third part, Les Visiteurs 3: La terreur is scheduled for release in 2016. An American remake, Just Visiting, was made in 2001.

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9. LA GRANDE VADROUILLE (DON’T LOOK NOW… WE’RE BEING SHOT AT!, a.k.a. THE GREAT PROMENADE), 1966

French comediesLa_Grande_Vadrouille_posterThe plot: During World War II, two French civilians and a downed British Bomber Crew leave from Paris to cross the demarcation line between Nazi-occupied Northern France and the South, in order to to escape to England. For that, they must avoid German troops – and the consequences of their own gaffes.

Go see it, because: La Grande Vadrouille was the most successful film in France for more than 30 years, only surpassed lately by Bienvenue Chez les Ch’tis and Intouchables. The dialogues are hilarious, it dares to make fun of anyone: British, French, and mostly Germans… Louis the Funes, with no doubt, is one of the greatest comedians of all times…

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10. LES VACANCES DE MONSIEUR HULOT (MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY), 1953

French comdies Les_vacances_de_monsieur_HulotThe plot: Monsieur Hulot goes on a holiday to a seaside resort in Brittany. Although his intentions are good, accidents and misunderstandings follow him wherever he goes, affecting the peace and quietness of the hotel guests…

Go see it, because… Jacques Tatin’s Hulot has become an all-time classic. He reminds us of Charles Chaplin, but also of Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson has admitted that Mr. Hulot influenced Mr. Bean’s character)… This film, with very few dialogues, manages to satirize France’s middle class and “the comical nature of humanity when interacting as a group”.

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23 thoughts on “10 FRENCH COMEDY FILMS YOU MUST SEE

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  6. As a kid I once saw a French comedy movie about ancient Arab and Jewish kingdoms at war with each other. Would you happen to know the name? I’m really trying to look for it for so long but am unable to find.

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