The Hairdresser's Husband (1990)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Release Date - Jun 19, 1992 (USA)  |   Run Time - 84 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Tom Wiener

Patrice Leconte's bittersweet romance is modestly proportioned with an economical prologue rooting Antoine's erotic obsession with women who can cut and shampoo his hair in a specific series of episodes from his youth, followed by one of the briefest (but amazingly believable) courtships in movie history, followed by a deliriously happy marriage, and then a wrap-up that observant viewers can see coming a mile away. Jean Rochefort, as the sad-eyed, placid Antoine, makes a wonderful observer, and as his main observee, Anna Galiena throws off the requisite sexual sparks without losing a certain kind of demureness. Leconte's use of overhead shots inside the barber shop offers another layer to the narrative; though this is a first-person film all the way, with Antoine offering voice-overs all the way through the story, we are offered a view of events he could never have. This sets up a satisfying final shot. Though Leconte has gone on to make more ambitious films (Ridicule, The Girl on the Bridge), this film still stands as his most perfectly realized and executed work.