The sublime Isabelle Huppert stars in The Godmother, another headliner from this year’s French Film Festival.
Huppert plays Patience Portefeux, an underpaid and overworked police interpreter who seizes an opportunity when life throws her a curve-ball. Assigned to a narcotics investigation, Patience listens to bugged phone calls between the Arabic suspects and translates their conversations back to the detectives.
When she clocks off from work, her day is not yet done, stopping off to visit her ailing mother (played by Liliane Rovère) in a care home. She is well known by the nursing staff who are both comfort to her and her mother. However, the home’s ruthless administrator pursues Patience for overdue accommodation expenses with the ultimatum: Patience must pay immediately or her mother is to be unceremoniously kicked out onto the streets.
The police continue to narrow their hunt for the drug dealers and when next Patience is listening in, she recognises the name of someone she knows. Realising the impact this information will have to her own life, she disguises what she’s learnt by lying to the police.
Instead, she decides to use this insider knowledge to take a bold move that will ensure her mother won’t be homeless. Changing her persona aka Breaking Bad style, Patience switches sides to become a drug trafficker, Mama Weed.
What follows is a slick and well crafted blend of French noir, drama and comedy. Mama Weed is both skilful and a little naïve at coercing hardened dealers into doing what she wants, and escaping close shaves by the seat of her pants. Either way, you’ll be a cheering her on while wondering where it will all end.
The Godmother is screening now. Check your local guides for screening times.
About The Godmother
Running time: 104 mins
Languages: French, Arabic with English subtitles
Directed by Jean-Paul Salomé
Stars Isabelle Huppert, Liliane Rovère, Hippolyte Girardot, Farida Ouchani, Jade-Nadja Nguyen