Synopsis by Mark Deming
In this black comedy from France, a family gathers in a tavern, ostensibly to celebrate a birthday, but poking each other's sore spots turns out to be the main order of business. Henri (Jean-Pierre Bacri) runs a saloon that he inherited from his father called "The Sleepy Dad," and in the near-empty bar, he plays host to several members of the family as they mark the 35th birthday of his sister-in-law, Yolande (Catherine Frot). Henri's sister, Betty (Agnès Jaoui), is 30, single, and not very happy about it; his brother (and Yolande's husband), Phillipe (Vladimir Yordanoff), runs a growing software company; Mother (Claire Maurier) is the siblings' strong-willed matriarch; and Henri's dog is on hand, whom someone describes as "like a rug, but alive." It's not been a good day for most of them: Phillipe is convinced that his business will go out the window as a result of the ugly tie that he wore on television; Betty is depressed about the sad state of her current relationship; Henri has just learned that his wife is leaving him; and Mother is tossing caustic barbs at everyone left and right. Henri's bartender Denis (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) is the one neutral party on hand, and he provides the voice of reason in the midst of the bickering.
dysfunctional, family-strife, family, party, matriarch, abandonment, birthday, spinster
High Artistic Quality, Sleeper