A Fun Way to Brush Up on Your French

August, 25, 2011

Lately, several friends have said they’re traveling to France and need to brush up on the language before boarding the plane. Potiche is perfect for just that. It’s a French film that can be seen with English subtitles, so even if you don’t speak French, you can still marvel at this timeless story and the magic of Catherine Deneuve.

A Fun Way to Brush Up on Your French

Potiche is a master of sly humor with clever dialogue. The title loosely translates into “trophy wife.” Catherine begins the movie as a perfectly-appointed corporate spouse, but this trophy doesn’t stay on the shelf for long. After her husband is held hostage by his union workers and suffers a heart attack, she rises to the occasion and runs the family business with the staff in mutiny. And, wow, can she run that business in whip-smart fashion. I won’t tell you what happens because I don’t want to ruin the movie, but I will say that she always had it in her. She had to believe in herself before others could believe in her. Throughout her transformation, she remained true to herself. When it was suggested that she remove her pearls for her first negotiation with angry union leaders, she demurred, explaining that she wouldn’t apologize for being a woman.

One of the memorable moments in this film occurs when Catherine is abandoned by someone she thinks she can trust. She is left alone in a secluded area and expected to haul ass five miles back to work in heels. Do you think Catherine removes those heels or hauls herself? Not at all! Through intelligence and charisma, she returns to the office without missing a beat or getting a hair out of place. Catherine skillfully deals with obstacles through humor, charm, and perseverance. She proves that beauty comes in all ages while embodying strength and femininity—a combination we could use more of today.

  1. Mary says:

    Great tip! the movie sounds thought provoking like many of your posts!

  2. Katie says:

    It makes it so much easier to pick up on a foreign language if your subconsciously doing it. That sounds so entertaining and the perfect way to brush up…love it!

  3. Kate says:

    This movie sounds like a great way to help polish my French. Learning a foreign language is never easy, but I love, Katherine, that you give fun ideas that make it much more enjoyable to get a tough job done. It’s true that just listening to music or a movie in a foreign language even with subtitles can greatly improve your speaking/listening skills, even if you don’t realize it at the time.

  4. Taylor says:

    I can’t wait to watch this!! I ALWAYS need recommendations for French movies (I’m trying to get my French to at least an “acceptable” level!) and this one looks so witty and entertaining. I’ll check it out as soon as I can! Thank you for the insight and recommendation–always appreciated!

  5. Louise says:

    I definitely agree that watching a movie is a good way to get back in the swing of a language. I took 2 years of college level french but unfortunately find myself a bit rusty whenever attempting to use it – i cant seem to bring myself to sit down and study! Yet during a film class I had to watch and write a 20 page essay on a french documentary and found myself not even needing the subtitles by the end of it! Learning through something you enjoy definitely makes everything that much easier and an important tip to keep with you!

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