The Midwife (Sage femme) is a French language film available on Prime Video. It stars Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot in a quiet, layered, character study.
The Midwife (Sage femme) begins with Claire (Catherine Frot), who leads an orderly life. She eats healthy food, doesn’t drink, and works as a midwife. We see her deliver several babies.
Claire has a son, Simon (Quentin Dolmaire), who is in college and close to moving out of the house. Simon is in medical school. Like Claire’s father before him, he is a swimmer. Claire’s father was an Olympic level swimmer.
Claire receives a call from Béatrice (Catherine Deneuve). Thirty years ago Béatrice was her father’s lover. When he started losing races and money, she left him. At that time Claire was about 13 or 12. However briefly, Béatrice was a mother figure for her.
Externally, the story is about how the manipulative Béatrice uses Claire for support as she has always used men. But internally, the story is about the relationship between this unlikely pair. It’s nuanced. It’s unspoken other than in arguments.
Claire unloosens in Béatrice’s company. She acknowledges long dead feelings about her father, her mother, Simon, and especially Béatrice. She even begins a romance with a man whose garden plot is next to hers, Paul (Olivier Gourmet).
We have to create our own interpretation as to why these two women do what they do, but I’m going to stick with the idea that they loved each other. Even Béatrice, who had no loyalty to anyone, seemed to feel something for Claire.
I make it a point to watch Catherine Deneuve in whatever comes from France. She’s the ultimate example of #EldersRock. She’s still beautiful and she knows the power of her beauty. Watching her is always a treat. Frot and Deneuve together were wonderful.
This is a slow moving tale about how two women change and affect each other. The ending is a little ambiguous. Not much of anything actually happens. I enjoyed it, but it isn’t something that will appeal to everyone.
Check out the trailer.