Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1645, the French playwright and actor Jean-Baptiste Poquelin -- better known as Molière -- mysteriously disappeared for several weeks, and this lavish comedy drama imagines a scenario that could explain what may have happened to him. At this time, Molière (Romain Duris) is touring the French countryside with his traveling theater company, and he's yet to be recognized as one of the continent's great authors (or achieve significant financial success). Molière is put in jail after skipping out on some unpaid debts, but is freed after his fine is paid by two strangers. Molière discovers his benefactors are acting on behalf of Jourdain (Fabrice Luchini), a very wealthy man who has a beautiful wife, Elmire (Laura Morante) and two lovely daughters. However, Jourdain has fallen head over heels for Celimene (Ludivine Sagnier), a gorgeous widow, and he's written a short play in order to demonstrate his feelings for her. Jourdain needs someone to help him polish his script and serve as an acting coach, and he's recruited Molière for the job. Needing the money, Moliere accepts, but he poses as a man of the cloth, Monsieur Tartuffe, to keep his identity a secret. Molière soon realizes that Jourdain's talent exists only in the rich man's imagination, and that Jourdain already has a rival for Celimene's affections, the charming but duplicitous Dorante (Edouard Baer). Molière was written and directed by Laurent Tirard.
debt, deception, playwright, prison, secret-identity, theater-troupe, widow/widower