If foreign policy is left in the hands of people like Alexandre Taillard de Worms (Thierry Lhermitte), the Minister of this film’s title, it’s no surprise the world’s going to hell in a handbasket. Egotistical and inconsistent, de Worms is a handful for the public servants working beneath him (in shades of how many ministerial staff must feel here at the moment). Bursting into rooms with enough force to send stacks of documents flying, he’s an enigmatic figure who proves both perplexing and intimidating for new speechwriter Arthur Vlaminck (Raphaël Personnaz), through whose eyes we view this comedic behind-the-scenes look at French political life.
Exposing the foibles and vanity is nothing new, the film’s scenario something that will be familiar to viewers of Yes, Minister, and, more recently, Armando Iannucci’s The Thick of It, Veep and In the Loop. This is exactly the sort of satire that The French Minister seeks to emulate in places, with a sizeable dose of French farce added to the mix. The result is an odd stylistic blend. The satire’s dulled down from scathing when merely sporadic, and while slapstick elements aren’t missing from The French Minister’s previously mentioned contemporaries, the tonal balance struck by the film doesn’t quite cohere in a way that fuses the best elements of each style of comedy.
If you’re not looking for something that puts politics to the sword, but merely uses it to provide a backdrop for some gently prodding humour,The French Minister will provide a chuckle or two. If something more bitterly incisive is your bag though, then you’d be advised to look elsewhere.
‘The French Minister’ Movie Times